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Deb Grider

As we all annually make New Year’s resolutions such as losing weight, getting more exercise, spending more time with our families, etc., typically we have good intentions but fall short at the end of the year. ICD-10 is coming quickly this year, and you cannot afford to develop “good intentions” without achieving good results. So, what New Year’s resolution did you make relative to your ICD-10 Implementation process?

Have you started on implementation at all? If not, you already are far behind, and need to jump-start the process. Get your steering committee together to begin planning, and be sure to touch on the following steps:

  1. Conduct your impact assessment. Look at all processes, departments and workflows to get a true understanding of the “as is” state. Instead of sending out a survey, interview department directors, supervisors, etc. directly to determine how ICD-10 currently is being used in each department or practice.
  2. Put together an assessment analysis of the “as is” state and identify risks. By identifying risks you can determine what changes need to be made right now and what changes can wait for 2014.
  3. Build your training plan. Training services are at a premium right now, and if you are responsible for implementation or have a large staff, you need to begin training immediately so everyone can be appropriately prepared. First, decide what type of training each staff member needs (in-depth, overview, basic, etc.).
  4. Conduct an ICD-10 readiness audit, looking at top DRGs and utilization of diagnosis codes. Then contrast current documentation with what documentation needs to be evident with ICD-10.
  5. Using the ICD-10 readiness audit, you can determine what type of training each practitioner will need.
  6. Begin training practitioners either one-on-one or as a group, by specialty, on documentation requirements for ICD-10.
  7. Begin training coding managers and coders on the ICD-10-CM/PCS code sets. Keep in mind that we all need to begin dual-coding early in 2014, and training resources will dry up quickly.
  8. Make certain to keep in contact with your software vendors and business associates, and get dates and timelines for testing, which will be key in any successful implementation. If you cannot submit proper claims, revenue will be affected starting late in 2014.
  9. Keep your organization on target. Keep everyone motivated and actively moving forward.
  10. Take your impact assessment to the next level: develop the action plan. Be sure to ask: What changes need to be made to implement ICD-10 successfully?

By itemizing the tasks at hand and involving numerous staff and departments to help with ICD-10 implementation, the chances of success are greater than they’d be if you just sit back and wait to see what happens. You cannot afford to risk your organization’s financial health by waiting or hoping for another delay. Federal officials keep telling us that ICD-10 is “closer than it seems,” and that statement is so true.

So get up, get going and implement your ICD-10 resolutions – starting today.

About the Author

Ms. Grider, an AHIMA-approved ICD-10 trainer and an American Medical Association coding author, is a senior manager with her firm, possessing more than 30 years of experience in coding, reimbursement, practice management, billing compliance, accounts receivable, revenue cycle management and compliance across many specialties. Her specific areas of expertise include medical documentation reviews, accounts receivable analysis and coding and billing education.

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