ICD-10: Step by Step Is the Best Strategy

Still not sure how — or whether — to start your transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10?

A recent survey by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) indicates providers are not making the progress needed for their ICD-10 implementation. “Unless more providers move quickly forward with their implementation efforts, there will be significant disruption on Oct 1, 2014,” WEDI concluded. If you are not compliant with ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2014, implementation date, your claims won’t get paid.

Even if you are holding out hope that the ICD-10 mandate will go away, you should start planning for it, says Steve Arter, chief executive officer  of Complete Practice Resources, in a video interview with TMA’s Peggy Pringle, associate vice president for practice management services. Waiting to find out if Congress will take action to stop ICD-10 is not a wise strategy; there too much to do between now and Oct. 1, 2014, to put off getting ready if ICD-10 stays.

Mr. Arter recommends that practices take a measured, phased approach to the transition so it won’t be overwhelming. He recommends a five-stage process, noting that the early steps don’t require large capital outlay but put you in a position to proceed with the transition as efficiently and economically as you can: 

  1. Learn. Educate yourself and your staff about the differences between the two codes sets, and what the implications are for your practice. 
  2. Plan. Identify every place where the new code set will touch your practice, and who needs to do what as a result. 
  3. Organize. Create a transition plan with timelines and assignments. 
  4. Implement. Follow your plan step by step and track progress to achieve the transition. 
  5. Analyze. Monitor your post-transition success and make adjustments as needed. 

TMA can help you take the “overwhelming” out of the task ahead. Be sure to bookmark TMA’s ICD-10 resource page for news, tools, education, and updates. For ICD-10 education opportunities, go to the TMA Education Center.

Published June 20, 2013

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