The coming of the ICD-10 coding systems has so far received both positive and negative reactions and responses from physicians and other healthcare systems. The ICD-10 transition from ICD-9 codes is known to be causing much anguish among physicians especially as they fear it will bring down their reimbursements, given the various healthcare reforms that have also been ushered in the past year.
However, the scenario is not all that bad with the ICD-10 and physician practices. The ICD-9 coding system has been in practice for decades and has found to have drawbacks given the changing diseases due to lifestyles and geographic movements of people across the globe. ICD-10 helps capture the various symptoms and is hoping to give researchers and the medical world a better impetus to new treatments and understanding of the epidemiology of the diseases.
The ICD-10 implementation comes into place on October 01, 2015. Wondering how ICD-10 can be advantageous to your practice? There are 4 specific areas of your practice that will benefit from the ICD-10 implementation:
- Medical: The illness gets better documented and much more clarity is now visible with the new coding system thereby helping both patient and the medical world to provide better care respectively and thus better informed decisions on patient treatment
- Operational: Electronic and digital records will help improve communications between physicians and ACOs thereby focusing on patient health and works well with the new risk sharing models, increasing better quality of practice and more targeted investment
- Financial: The complexity is better documented paving way for higher reimbursements. Also a decrease in the audit risk factor due to better documentation with greater degree of specificity due to use of the new ICD-10 codes and thus reduces fraud from the system too
- Professional: Better documentation, better diagnosis, better treatment and thus better reimbursements. Also, with this controlled data, better health policies and advocacy for health care reforms can be pushed due to greater visibility of data.
Now, with these positive benefits seeping into your practice, certain post-ICD-10 preparations are needed. What would these include?
- Upgrades: This involves not only upgrading your IT systems to better handle the change from ICD-9 to ICD 10 coding, but the change from paper documentation to storing digital records
- Knowledge Awareness: Coders and documentation staff need to be more aware of the anatomy of the body as laterality and specificity are part of the new coding system. Better awareness of the human system and its parts with keener observation will be the order of the day
- Financial reserves: Yes, claim denials will be there and will affect reimbursements not be made on a timely basis. But the only way to mitigate this risk is to help keep at least a 6 month cash reserve to help cushion the pitfalls that could happen.
- Increased network: This includes an ever expanding network that every physician will soon undergo. With the ACA and its several models and strategies to deliver better health care, physicians will now be able to access other specialty physicians, become more aware of the facilities afforded by care organizations for their patients and thus help and better patient care.
So time is of essence if you and your staff wish to reap the benefits of the new ICD-10 coding, for a better healthcare delivery.