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“Physicians can have the clearest communication plan, most thorough impact assessment, and the best implementation plan. But at the end of the day, if physicians don’t document, coders can’t code, billers can’t submit claims, and the entire implementation process was time and money wasted.”


experts recommend physicians plan now, as ICD-10 promises to affect every as- pect of their medical practices. Edinburg pediatrician Martin Garza, MD, a member of the TMA Council on Practice Management Services, spent 2012 completing Stage 1 electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use requirements and meeting Health Insur- ance Portability and Accountability Act 5010 electronic claims standards. (See


“Ready for 5010?” in November 2011 Texas Medicine, pages 10–16.) “Now it’s time to turn our attention to


ICD-10. Working to achieve meaning- ful use and transitioning to HIPAA 5010 last year taught me and my staff that we shouldn’t underestimate the amount of time we need to allot for ICD-10 imple- mentation,” he said. Arming physicians with tools for a successful ICD-10 implementation while alleviating documentation and coding hassles is a TMA priority. (See “Coding Help From TMA,” page 40–41.) The association collaborated with


unforeseen circumstances, ICD-10 will become a reality in 2014. Austin colon and rectal surgeon Da-


vid Fleeger, MD, past chair of the TMA Council on Practice Management Ser- vices, is concerned about the time, cost, and “an inefficiency that goes on forever” associated with the ICD-10 conversion. “It’s the private practice doctor in small groups who’s going to have the biggest problem im- plementing ICD-10,” he said.


David Fleeger, MD


AMA is not giv- ing up, though. At


38 TEXAS MEDICINE January 2013


the AMA House of Delegates meeting in November 2012, delegates adopted a resolution reaffirming its opposition to ICD-10. The resolution said “in order to alleviate the increasing bureaucratic and financial burden on physicians, our [AMA will] vigorously advocate that the [CMS] eliminate the implementation of ICD-10 and instead wait for the adop- tion of ICD-11 … [and] immediately reiterate to the [CMS] that the burdens imposed by ICD-10 will force many phy- sicians in small practices out of business.” Although TMA opposes the transition


to ICD-10, it is committed to helping physicians get ready for the new coding system, should CMS persist in its cur- rent trajectory. TMA, AMA, and coding


Louisiana-based Complete Practice Re- sources (CPR) to develop web-based tools that help physicians successfully transition to ICD-10 and help ensure they continue receiving payments after Oct. 1, 2014. CPR President Denny Flint says phy- sicians need to know the significant im- pact ICD-10 will have on documentation. “Physicians are ultimately the corner- stone for ICD-10 implementation suc- cess. Physicians can have the clearest communication plan, most thorough im- pact assessment, and the best implemen- tation plan. But at the end of the day, if physicians don’t document, coders can’t code, billers can’t submit claims, and the entire implementation process was time and money wasted,” he said.


Use TMA’s tools Manually converting ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 can take hours, even days. To help reduce the conversion time frame, CPR developed the Simple Solutions ICD-10 Transition Software. It’s avail- able from TMA for $129. The software can generate a medical practice’s top 50 codes in a matter of minutes. It can also create coding flash


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