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Creating an Easy-to-Implement ICD-10 Action Plan

July 2, 2015

time_to_plan_3Is the ICD-10 nightmare going to cease? Whether it does or not shouldn’t influence whether are prepared for the possible transition. And even if you’ve already created a ever budget for it, you still need to develop an action plan, and yes, this action plan can be a bit complex in terms of carrying out the involved tasks.But by following an action plan you can rest assured that you’ll be covering all the bases in relation to compliance with the new codes.

Create a Team of ICD-10 Transition Workers

You need workers on both sides of the fence during the transition, and that includes now. Some workers should be solely focusing on ICD-10 implementation, while others are tasked with keeping up with your current daily operational tasks. As the transition takes place, you’ll have workers who are already familiar with ICD-10. The transition workers should include at least one staff member from each key staff department — coding, billing, physician, administrative, etc.

Understand What You’re Up Against

The switch to ICD-10 is meant to achieve one primary purpose — better patient care. Although the transition is dreaded by many healthcare facilities, if you know what you’re up against, it’ll make the transition a lot simpler. The best way to do this is by performing an impact analysis across all departments in your practice. In doing this, you can pinpoint possible ramifications and create solutions to ensure the obstacles are avoided, or in the least minimized as much as possible.

Outline the Specific Tasks to Take Place

Creating an outline of the tasks to take place within your action plan is going to take some time. In fact, you may find that it takes several weeks, possibly even months to outline each individual task. But it’s imperative that this step not be overlooked. This is a primary piece of the action plan puzzle that you’ll reference again and again. From upgrading your EMR system to joining additional networks, every task should not only be outlined but detailed, as well.

Allocate Your Budget Funds

No matter the way you look at it, it’s going to cost money to transition to ICD-10, which is why you should be allocating your money right now to accommodate for the accompanying expenses. Your action plan should clearly define the funds that you have to spend toward transition activities.

Download: A handbook to create an ICD-10 action plan

Don’t Rush Things

Whether or not you transition to ICD-10 by the deadline doesn’t matter if you don’t transition effectively. This is why you must revolve your action plan around realistic timelines. The transition is not going to happen overnight. In fact, it probably won’t even take place in less than four weeks, but by pacing yourself, you’re much more likely to be in full compliance once the transition process is complete.

Carefully Examine Your Most Frequent Codes

By examining your most frequently used codes, you can then prepare for their use in compliance with ICD-10 guidelines. You should run a report that identifies the codes of 80 percent of your claims. You can use a code translator to see how many of the new ICD-10 codes will be needed to go in place for the ICD-9 codes. As you start the transitioning process, you and your staff members will use their already-gained knowledge as a roadmap for the entire transition.

Send at Least One Staff Member through Training

Your ICD-10 action plan NEEDS to include training. Whether you have professional coders or not in your office, at least one of them needs to go through the appropriate training to ensure ICD-10 compliance is maintained. If possible, all of your coders should go through training as this will decrease errors, which can lead to a significant increase in your overall profit margins.


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