Checklist: 9 tasks that will get you ready for ICD-10 implementation

By Carl Natale
08:27 AM

If you're trying to figure out how to start planning ICD-10 implementation, there are plenty of resources to help.

Hugh Kelly rounded up the "The 5 ICD-10 tasks you should have done by now" for Government Health IT. It's based upon the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) ICD-10-CM/PCS Transition:  Planning & Preparation Checklist. While the checklist is built for large healthcare providers such as hospitals, it still has relevance for smaller medical practices.

In that spirit, here's this list from Pat Schmitter's webinar, "Are you ready for ICD-10?". It is similar to the AHIMA checklist so it's not better. I'm offering it as another way to give you some sense of the planning needed.

"Identify Current Systems and Work Processes"
Create an inventory of everywhere your ICD-9 codes are used. Places such as:
    •    Paper and electronic medical records
    •    Clinical documentation
    •    Superbills
    •    All internal and external reporting
    •    Contracts

While you're at it, look at who is responsible for all those documents and processes. Those people will need training too.

"Communicate with Practice Management System Vendor"
First thing, find out if regulatory updates are are part of the maintenance they will perform. Next, Schmitter says to ask these questions:
    •    Can the current system accommodate the ICD-10 data format? (The answer should be yes if it's  HIPAA 5010 compliant)
    •    Can the vendor upgrade the current system?
    •    Will the vendor charge for the upgrade?
    •    When will the upgrades be ready?
    •    When will the upgrades be completed?

"Communicate with Your Billing Service, Clearinghouse and Payers"
Some questions to ask:
    •    Are they upgrading their systems?
    •    When will their upgrades be complete?
    •    When can you start testing claims and other transactions with ICD-10 codes?

"Communicate with Your Payers about Your Contracts"
Some payers are rewriting their contracts. For example, they may pay differently - or require - the highest specificity be reported in ICD-10 coding. Payers also may change payer medical review, auditing and coverage.

"Identify Changes to Practice Work Flow and Business Processes"
That inventory in step 1 is going to come in handy. That's going to help you figure out what needs to change after Oct. 1, 2013.

"Identify Staff Training Needs"
Just about everyone needs some sort of training. Yes, your medical coders need the most. But your clinical staff needs to understand ICD-10 coding too. And codes aren't the only thing that staff members need to know. They need proper training on workflow changes. Especially if this means you got new or upgraded systems.

"Test - Test - Test"
Everyone who receives claims, bills and reports needs to schedule testing with your practice. Remember you won't be the only one trying to get their time and attention. Many other healthcare procrastinators will be bidding for time and services.

"Budget for Implementation Costs"
Practices need to account for more than just the cost of new and/or upgraded systems:
    •    Training and continuing education
    •    Workflow changes
    •    Reimbursement delays

Start Now
OK, that's my step. There's more to this than just selecting software. Training and testing are going to take more time than you want. So the longer you take to get to those steps, the more trouble you're going to experience. And watch the "Are you ready for ICD-10?" webinar. It's a 56 minutes well spent if you're looking for strong background on ICD-10 codes.