Are You Ready for ICD-10?

By Randy Wilson, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Revenue Cycle Officer

We’ve all heard the warnings … “October 1 will soon be upon us! Are you ready for ICD-10?” And each year, just as we near the brink of converting, someone convinces the powers-that-be we should delay implementation yet again. Companies have invested millions of dollars preparing for the conversion that never comes. The news media reports providers are not ready, and some argue that at this late date we should wait for ICD-11. Will 2015 be the year ICD-10 becomes a reality? Although we’ve heard some discussion to the contrary, I believe it is.

Regardless of whether we convert this year or at some point in the future, there is a definite advantage to preparing for ICD-10 now. As most everyone knows, the number of diagnostic codes will expand from some 14,000 to over 68,000, so coder preparedness is key. But ICD-10 is not just a coding concern; provider documentation also plays an important role. Providers must document in enough detail to allow the medical coders to select the most accurate ICD-10 code at a much more granular level.

I highly recommend revenue cycle management teams begin dual coding using ICD-10 now. Feedback to the providers is extremely important during this preparedness period to assure medical records are documented sufficiently to support the correct ICD-10 code. A formalized communication plan with frequent follow up will lead to a successful conversion.