Liles Parker PLLC
(202) 298-8750 (800) 475-1906
Washington, DC | Houston, TX
San Antonio, TX | Baton Rouge, LA

We Defend Healthcare Providers Nationwide in Audits & Investigations

ICD-10 Will be Here Soon. Is Your Practice Ready?

Is your practice prepared to make the transition to ICD-10?(June 14, 2013):  Despite experiencing a couple of false starts, it now appears that ICD-10 is here to stay, and there are expected to be further.  Why are providers being required to transition over from ICD 9?  Unfortunately, ICD-9 is considered to be outdated and some its categories are literally beyond their useful capacity.  Regardless of your feelings regarding transition, many experts believe that the move the ICD-10 will be one of the biggest changes in healthcare to occur in the last 30 years. Frankly, most practice managers and treating providers across the United States simply don’t know where to start with the ICD-10 implementation process. The clock is ticking. According to the CMS timeline, health care providers should already be conducting internal claims testing.  Have you taken this first step?  From our discussions with providers, it appears that the average practice today does not even know the first step to getting started with ICD-10 implementation.

I.     We Can Learn from the Mistakes of Early Adopters of ICD-10:

Notably, the United States and Italy are the only industrialized countries in the World not using ICD-10. Many countries have been using ICD- 10 for almost a decade.  Their experiences will prove invaluable as our providers move to ICD-10. Their advice?

  • Don’t wait to the last minute to begin your preparations. Prepare early.
  • Now is the time to examine your documentation practices.  Will they be sufficient to permit the detailed coding required by ICD-10?
  • The failure to fully prepare will directly hit your bottom line.  In 2014, ICD-10 will be one of the cornerstones for getting paid.

II.  How Long Does it Take to Transition Over to ICD-10?

An ICD-10 transition expert we work with, Lisa Asbell, R.N., estimates that it can take a practice up to 500 hours to transition properly. . Lisa is the President of TrainRX.  Her transition training website is located at: Notably, Lisa has estimated that If you were to start today and break that down over the next 16 months, chances are you will be okay with the clock runs out on October 1, 2014. If you don’t get serious about transition now, there is a chance that your practice won’t survive the transition.

III.  How Do You Get Started?

What are the first steps to get started:

  • The first thing you need to do is convert your most frequently used diagnosis codes from ICD-9 to ICD-10.
  • Next, perform chart reviews to see if all of the newly required documentation elements for ICD-10 are in the chart. Is there enough information for you to submit the correct ICD-10 code? If there is, great that is a good start. If you don’t have enough information, then you know that your providers will need more education.  While is only the first of many, many steps in transitioning over to ICD-10, it’s a solid start!

IV.   Can You Handle the ICD-10 Transition Without Help?

Depending on when you initiate your transition and level of coding expertise in your practice, you may or may not need outside assistance. On estimate has placed the overall cost of transition at $60,000-$80,000 for a five provider practice. That number includes training, lost productivity and the expenses associated with hiring part-time staff during the period of transition. It does not include any software upgrades or hiring a transition Project Manager. The sooner you begin the process, the lower your overall transition costs will be.

Robert W. LilesHealthcare Lawyer serves as Managing Partner at Liles Parker.  Liles Parker is a boutique health law firm with offices in Washington, DC, Baton Rouge, LA, Houston, TX and McAllen Texas.  Robert has extensive experience representing health care providers in the areas of regulatory compliance.  Should you need assistance or have questions regarding a health law regulatory issue, call Robert for complimentary consultation.  He can be reached at: 1 (800) 475-1906.   

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