Many non-accountants believe accounting and budgeting to be mathematical functions. While both involve some basic math, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, they are much more dependent on logical thinking.
Actually, all accounting areas are more like learning a foreign language than learning to become a math guru. Designing a budget should be easier than learning how the terms, earnings to share ratios, contingent liabilities or return on equity, work. Be thorough and logical. You’ll create an accurate picture of your cash resource needs without unpleasant surprises.
Common Problems with ICD-10 Conversion Budgeting
Mention the cost of converting from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnostic and treatment coding and most medical care providers think of training and software expenses. These costs should be significant, but are only components of this major conversion.
This problem is common to most less experienced people assigned to create a budget, in all industries. Unfortunately, knowing you’re not alone is only comforting for a moment. Eventually, a reasonable budget that accounts for all components contributing thereto must be included.
Components of an ICD-10 Budget Plan
We’ve already mentioned the two obvious items to include in your ICD-10 budget plan.
- Education and training. The change to ICD-10 coding is a major shift from ICD-9 codes that experienced billers have been using for years. Even the most experienced personnel need thorough training in new procedures to avoid payment delays or claim rejections. For better results, consider a top medical training and billing firms, such as M-Scribe Technologies, to ensure high-quality staff training and budgetary cost control.
- Software upgrades to handles thousands of new codes and procedural changes. Billing and practice management software need modifications that provide for these extensive changes in codes and procedures.
There are other items that you should not overlook. Consider the following conversion budget line items.
- Practice staff time requirements, including
- Implementation brainstorming
- Physical implementation
- On-going training
- Testing new software and procedures
- Payer and vendor coordination
Practice staff needs to spend time offering ideas on implementing ICD-10 codes, assisting with the physical implementation and on-going training support necessary to install the critical new coding system and coordinate new payer procedures to ensure timely claim reimbursement. This necessity comes with a cost to the practice.
- Temporary employees that may be needed during and shortly after conversion. You may need temps to bridge the gap created by high producing staff removed from their primary jobs to help train other staff and implement the new billing and coding procedures.
- Consultants, if necessary. If you need help from expert consultants to smooth the transition to ICD-10, factor in estimates of their cost. This expense may be money well spent to avoid reimbursement claim delays or rejections.
- Redesign and printing of forms and reports. Submission forms and/or report layouts may change dramatically, requiring redesign and/or reprinting. Allocate sufficient reasonable funds to budget for this additional cost.
- Indirect costs. Estimate expenses for practice costs arising from the ICD-10 conversion that are peripheral, not direct, but apply to the code conversion budget. These expenses can take many forms. Include estimates—even round figure guesstimates—into budget design.
- Practice-specific cost items. Add any items that you estimate are related to your practice that don’t fall into prior categories.
Including all the items noted should make your ICD-10 budget and plan accurate and display a graphic estimate of the true cost of this significant conversion.
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