Use These Tools to Prep for ICD-10

Why start studying up now on ICD-10, when the changeover to the new code system is still more than a year away, on Oct. 1, 2014?

It’s like putting money in the bank, says Steve Arter, CEO of Complete Practice Resources, in a video interview with TMA Practice Management Consultant Heather Bettridge.

Practices not up to speed with ICD-10 when it takes effect can expect to see a significant drop in revenue for several months while they adjust to the new system. It’s all about documentation, Complete Practice Resources CEO Denny Flint, says in the video. Physicians should start now to learn what documentation elements relevant to their practice and specialty they will need to record to support ICD-10 codes. If the physician documents appropriately for ICD-10, coders will able to do their job. Mastering the documentation now means getting paid the right amount without delay after the transition.


Mr. Arter suggests practice uses these two simple tools to help physicians learn the documentation elements they’ll need for payment under ICD-10.

  1. Flashcards: Make flashcards for the 100 or so diagnosis codes you use most in your practice, and list on each card the breakdown of that diagnosis under ICD-10. For asthma, for example, the physician must document whether it is mild, moderate, or severe, and persistent or intermittent. Learn one or two flashcards a week until Oct. 1, 2014, to master them all.
  2. Self-audits: Take your 30 most commonly reported diagnoses and convert the ICD-9 codes to ICD-10. Identify the documentation elements required to substantiate the new codes. Then perform a chart audit to determine if your current documentation techniques consist of the required elements to support the most appropriate ICD-10 code

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Published March 26, 2013 

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