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VBCR - June 2015, Volume 4, No 3 - Value Propositions

Speakers at the annual meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society offered advice to physicians as they prepare to implement ICD-10.

According to Betty Gomez, a regulatory strategy consultant, October 1, 2015, is “just the first milestone” in the transition. She warned that along with the transition, “there are going to be unforeseen obstacles and challenges.” Physicians should reduce their backlog of denied or pending claims and be prepared with a contingency plan so that they will be able to manage any challenges that arise. A checklist could help track the completion of needed tasks, such as having a staff member or response team designated to address problems when they occur and educating staff on the use of ICD-9 codes and ICD-10 codes after the transition. She said, “You need to make sure you can continue to use both ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes, based on date of service or date of discharge.”

F. Phil Cartagena, Jr, ICD-10 program manager for Partners Healthcare System in Boston, recommended that practices have a minimum of 3 months’ cash flow in reserve. It would also be beneficial to “work out agreements in which payers match or partially match physicians’ current monthly run rate during the transition,” he said. As is well known, ICD-10 has approximately 5 times as many codes as ICD-9 and will require more specific documentation. Cartagena suggested, “The more specific that you can be, the better it is, whether it matters for actually coding the record correctly, or if it’s for stratifying your patient mix or having a better understanding clinically of how the diagnoses of your patient population break down.” Gallegos A. Rheumatology News Digital Network. April 16, 2015.

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Last modified: June 29, 2015
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