The deadline for the transition to the new ICD-10 has recently passed. If you have yet to make the switch, you should definitely inquire about the requirements, and more importantly, you should start saving funds to ensure the changeover goes as smoothly as possible. And while switching to ICD-10 might seem like a headache, the new codes are meant to provide better diagnosing and enhanced patient care. According to Heritage.org, the average cost of switching to ICD-10 is anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for practices that are considered small.Unfortunately, there are also other factors to consider that will lead to a drop in revenue, including a loss of productivity during the switch and reimbursement delays. In fact, the Nolan Company has conducted studies on the transition to the new ICD-10 and it is predicted that decreases in productivity due to the more complex coding will lead to a $300 million to $400 million annual loss for the healthcare industry in the United States. Still yet, no matter the losses that may be endured, the switch is mandated by law, meaning you should be following as many money-saving tips as possible. Saving money during the transition is vital because, as mentioned before, reimbursements will likely be delayed for some time once the conversion has taken place.
Invest in Quality Training
Investing in quality training may see like another daunting expense, but the better your staff members are trained to work with the new ICD-10, the more productive your practice will be. This leads to lower levels of productivity loss, which results in the ability to see more patients, thus increasing your revenue.
Identify Your Most Commonly Used Codes
There are likely anywhere from five to 15 codes that you use on a regular basis. By determining these codes and pinpointing their ICD-10 equivalents, your staff will be better prepared to focus on billing rather than searching for codes. This boosts productivity and keeps your operations flowing smoothly.
Speak with Your Staff
When it comes to making the switch to ICD-10, you'll definitely want to see who is on board and who isn't. You may or may not lose certain employees due to the complexity of the new codes. It's important to speak with staff members before training them and determine who is willing to stay and who isn't. For any new employees that you hire, they will need to be well-versed in ICD-10 or you will need to send them through training. And since staff retention is vital to saving money (you won't have to recruit, hire, train, etc.) it's pertinent to make sure you have money set aside to cover rent and payroll incase there are any reimbursement delays.
Assess Current Billing Workflow
Before making the switch, make sure your billing team captures a detailed outline of how claims are processed using ICD-9 codes. Once the switch has taken place, you can compare the new billing workflow with your old one, allowing you to pinpoint any issues. This will also augment the submittance of cleaner claims, meaning you'll get reimbursed faster.
It's perfectly understandable that adding 68,000 new codes to your practice isn't going to be a walk in the park. More than likely, it's going to come with a variety of issues, but when you have an ICD-10 professional consultant on your side, you can rest assured that the transition process is taking place as it needs to be. Through our computer assisted coding (CAC) software, we make the transition simple. We understand the ins-and-outs of ICD-10, including the complicated matters that relate to modifiers being used within the codes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with ICD-10 ready software.