Written by Deborah Robb, BSHA, CPC, Physician Management Consultant for TrustHCS:
The American Medical Association, not satisfied with HHS’s push-back of the ICD-10 deadline to October 1, 2014, has protested again. Perhaps one of the reasons for their continued dissent is lack of guidance and support.
While much has been published about the implementation of ICD-10 for hospitals, the body of knowledge for physician practices and medical groups is sorely lacking. Vendor upon vendor is assisting hospitals, but who is helping the docs?
I readily admit the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is a huge undertaking. However, only diagnosis codes change for practices and groups, not procedure codes. And while physician payment is not driven by diagnoses codes, they are still required to show medical necessity. This is where practices must be thoroughly prepared to make the leap.
Family practice, hospitalists and internal medicine groups may have a more difficult time converting from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Specialists will find the transition much easier. Why?
Generalists see a large variety of patient conditions. So their documentation and support staff must be educated in all anatomy, physiology and disease processes—while specialists treat a limited sub-set of the patient population. Therefore their documentation needs to be refined in only a few key areas. And staff only needs to focus on one or two body systems.
To get started, CMS has prepared ICD-10CM information on their website. Now is a good time for practices to test the water with what to expect; and begin developing a training plan, even for single practitioner practices
7 Tips for Physician Practices and Groups
Our experts at TrustHCS have also provided some tips for practices and groups to ease the transition to ICD-10.
- Practices owned, managed or affiliated with a hospital should reach out for guidance and resources.
- A targeted, specific training approach is the most cost effective and practical strategy for specialty practices.
- Train in small increments and preferably have another physician involved for peer-to-peer support.
- Deepen your staffs’ biomedical knowledge, particularly in the body systems that you treat.
- Take a tailored step-by-step approach and do a thorough ICD-10 assessment and planning early.
- A period of parallel testing with both I-10 and I-9 codes is recommended if at all possible.
- Work with like practices, payers and hospitals as a regional consortium on the I-10 issues facing you all.
About Deborah Robb, BSHA, CPC
Deborah Robb is a Physician Management Consultant for TrustHCS where she is responsible for their Physician Practices business. Deborah has over thirty years of experience in healthcare and extensive experience in clinical settings inclusive of but not limited to hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and free-standing home health agencies. Deborah possesses an extensive teaching background in medical coding and medical insurance. She is also a five time author in Medical Coding and Insurance for e-learning courses by Direct Learning.
Deobrah is the Founder and former President of the Hattiesburg, MS chapter of the AAPC. She has held the position of Medical Program Director for Antonelli College in MS. As Program Director, Deborah designed, implemented, and revised program curriculums for certification requirements. In addition, Deborah has implemented and monitored compliance with QA / CQI and PI programs in accordance with the guidelines and conducted contract-coding programs in which she enhanced the skill and knowledge levels of client employees so they could set for the National Certified Coding Exams.