This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
cards of most commonly used diagnoses that physicians can share with their staff members. Visit http://bitly.com/RBvole to order the software.


It allows physicians and office staff members to search ICD-9 and ICD-10 by code, description, and key word; create and save a list of commonly used codes; and develop and print quick-reference conversion lists. The software illustrates the new code


structure’s dramatic differences in speci- ficity and chart documentation. For ex- ample, when “fracture of the patella” is typed into the transition software, ICD- 10 may require additional documenta- tion, such as asking physicians to specify laterality, type of encounter, and degree of healing. Search results for fracture of the patella list two codes in ICD-9 and 480 in ICD-10. To make the code search more man- ageable and to hone in on the appropri- ate ICD-10 code, physicians can type in additional key words from the patient’s chart. Physicians and staff members can also use the software to convert their su- per bills or EHR problem lists to ICD-10 with just a click of the mouse. At press time, TMA was working with CPR to finalize the Simple Solutions ICD-10 Tool Kit, which includes the soft- ware. Contact the TMA Knowledge Cen- ter at (800) 880-7955 to inquire about product availability. Mr. Flint says the tool kit helps physi-


cians organize, assess, and track all ele- ments of ICD-10 implementation. “Without a logical, measured, and


organized approach to implementation, important pieces will be missed. Ev- erywhere a diagnosis code touches the practice, impact must be addressed. The tool kit provides the means to do this in a truly turn-key, all-inclusive way with every piece of the ICD-10 puzzle ac- counted for.”


The tool kit allows automatic impor- tation of data elements and features instructional videos for each phase of ICD-10 implementation. It also includes a 50-page guide book, timelines, and im- portant deadlines.


Budget for the switch Transitioning to ICD-10 won’t be cheap.


A 2008 report by a Maryland-based consulting firm, Nachimson Advisors, LLC, says it could cost a three-physician practice up to $83,000. A 100-physician group could pay more than $2 million to convert to the new system. The Ameri- can Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and 11 other health care organizations commissioned the report. Mr. Flint says physicians should bud- get for implementation costs, including hardware and software upgrades, train- ing, and short-term loss of productivity. “Physicians should be asking their IT vendors now who will pay for the ICD- 10 hardware and software upgrades,” he said.


Physicians using old practice man- agement systems should consider an upgrade. He says the price of many EHR systems includes a companion practice management system.


He advises physicians to plan for an estimated 20-percent loss in productiv- ity early in the transition to ICD-10 be- cause they won’t be able to see as many patients and will likely have increased claims denials due to a lack of familiar- ity with the new processes. Mr. Flint encourages practices of all sizes to take ICD-10 implementation se- riously and to develop a plan. “While smaller practices may have fewer moving parts affected by ICD-10, they also typically have fewer resources to assist with the transition. Small to medium-sized practices should especial- ly take advantage of TMA’s expertise and resources,” he said.


Get started now AMA published “ICD-10 Timeline: Meet- ing the Compliance Date,” http://bit.ly/ SoaCEo, to help medical offices priori- tize their preparations.


The timeline’s nine critical steps take at least 22 months to complete, so medi- cal practice staff should be working now to ensure that employees, office technol- ogy, and internal operations are ready to make the switch on Oct. 1, 2014. The nine steps, with expected minimum completion times in parenthesis, are:


1. Conduct an impact analysis on busi- ness practices and systems to deter-


mine how the switch will affect op- erations. Next, inventory all systems, both electronic and manual, that use ICD-9 codes. By conducting this re- view as early as possible, physicians fully understand the scope of work ahead and prioritize important tasks. (3 months)


2. Contact vendors about the dates, ex- pected costs, and other details of in- stalling the ICD-10 upgrades on com- puter systems. (2 months)


3. Contact payers, billing services, and clearinghouses to learn when their ICD-10 upgrades will be completed and when they’ll be ready to begin testing transactions using the new codes. Likewise, doctors should let these groups know when they expect to have their office system upgrades installed. (2 months)


4. Because the timing of system up- grades to a medical office is depen- dent upon the readiness of the ven- dors serving that office, it’s important to talk to vendors about upgrades early on. This also may help reduce ICD-10 transition costs. Upgrade oth- er systems, such as quality reporting and public health reporting tools, as well. (3 months)


5. Once the upgrades are complete, con- duct internal testing to ensure the up- graded systems can generate transac- tions with the ICD-10 codes. Practices should allow extra time for trouble- shooting and working with vendors to address any obstacles. (2 months)


6. Update internal processes that sup- port coding. These include super bills, encounter forms, quality data collec- tion forms, and public health data collection forms. Take this time to review clinical documentation to en- sure it captures the necessary details of patient diagnoses. (2 months)


7. Train every staff member. The train- ing times should be staggered to pre- vent down time in the practice. Cod- ing staff may want time to practice using the ICD-10 code set on sample claims, such as current claims, before the compliance date. (2 months)


8. Conduct external testing with clear- inghouses, billing services, and pay- ers to make sure they can properly


January 2013 TEXAS MEDICINE 39


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