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ICD-10 testing has started: Fight panic with preparedness
e-Reports, March 10, 2014
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Approaching deadlines aren’t scary if you’re prepared. That means readiness to start using ICD-10 CM by the Oct. 1 deadline can save you from panic – and from a potentially serious drop in revenue.

The time for training is now. That’s especially true because ICD-10 vendor testing began March 1. And Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, recently told a conference audience there “are no more delays.”

ICD-10 Resource Options

To start, determine who in your office needs training and to what level. Next, identify training resources available and their cost. Remember that what you spend now on ICD-10 education will pay dividends later in terms of correct coding and correct payment.

Maybe the frightening numbers are preventing you from acting. ICD-9 had 13,000 codes and ICD-10 has 68,000 codes! Or perhaps you’ve heard stories about needing to learn obscure codes for squirrel bites or falls into buckets of water.

“Don’t be frightened into thinking you need to learn nearly 70,000 ICD-10 codes before implementation Oct. 1,” said Gloria Kirkham, CPC, ISMA coding expert and practice advisor. “Just as you now use familiar codes over and over in your practice – and rarely use others – so it will be with ICD-10. You will quickly fall into a pattern of using certain ICD-10 codes repeatedly. However, you also will need to know where to easily find the seldom used codes in the reference material.”

While more detailed and precise than ICD-9, the new ICD-10 codes are not totally different. The good news is that ICD-10 should require less supporting documentation with your claims, and reimbursement should more often be appropriate, requiring less re-work of claims.

Resolve to keep panic away and claims issues to a minimum by preparing now for Oct. 1. Education and resources abound – from the federal government as well as the ISMA, the AMA and specialty medical societies.

ISMA seminars and webinars are a good place to start. Find them on the ISMA website ICD-10 page.

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