Despite the possible implementation delay of ICD-10, your organization should continue to work on preparing for the new code sets. Even if your organization hasn’t completed a full ICD-10 assessment, you can check some things off your to-do list now. For example, you can review current encounter forms and electronic health record templates and get them ready; it will be one less thing to do later. Specifically, take the following steps:
- Determine the current volume of DX code selections from encounter forms and templates. You should be able to get this information from your reporting module or data warehouse.
- Take your top 20 diagnosis codes and look them up using an ICD-10 tool such as the AAPC’s ICD-10 Code Translator.
- Apply the CMS GEMs mapping crosswalks to be sure that your organization has a comprehensive view of the ICD-10 code selection available for individual diagnosis categories.
- Have your expert coders review diagnosis selection for each diagnosis category and select the most appropriate diagnosis codes for the encounter form being used.
- Ensure that your expert coders know the importance of reviewing the CMS ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting ICD-10-CM. These guidelines are a set of rules that have been developed to accompany and complement the official conventions and instructions provided within ICD-10-CM itself; they were developed to assist both the healthcare provider and the coder in identifying diagnoses and procedures that are to be reported.
- Take the results and tally them up against current encounter forms and/or templates to determine your optimal approach to requirements for ensuring additional specificity and granularity. For example, be sure there is a process through which your intake specialists can obtain additional requirements for ICD-10, such as the following questions: Who was directly involved in the incident, or was the patient a passenger (in the case of an injury)? Is this the patient’s first encounter, or a subsequent visit?
The possible ICD-10 delay may allow healthcare organizations to move through the implementation process at a more moderate pace, helping to ensure accuracy and reduce stress levels along the way. Let’s not use the extended timeline to delay the fire drill, though – keep checking off your ICD-10 to-do items!
About the Author
Anita Archer has extensive management experience in the healthcare industry, with an emphasis on revenue cycle management and systems implementation and support. She is a certified professional coder and an AHIMA-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer, and has been responsible for revenue cycle improvements in physician practices, hospitals and ancillary services. She has extensive system implementation experience and is a superb project manager and team leader. Anita is currently the director of regulatory compliance at Hayes Management Consulting.
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