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ICD-10: What now?

Although ICD-10 implementation doesn’t kick in until Oct. 1, 2014, you can take steps now to help minimize your stress level in the months leading up to it. Time is on your side, but you must begin preparations to transition your practice soon. In a video interview, Texas Medical

Association Practice Management Con- sultant Heather Bettridge sat down with Steve Arter, chief executive officer of Complete Practice Resources (CPR), and CPR President Denny Flint to get their take on the necessary steps physicians should be taking now. To watch the in- terview, visit For an in-depth look at how to get started, TMA offers a webinar titled ICD-10 Starts With Physicians: A Primer for Beginning the Process. The webinar gives an overview of the new coding

standard, explains the differences from ICD-9, and provides direction for the first steps you should take. This continu- ing medical education program, which includes an interactive question-and- answer session with Mr. Flint, will give you a head start for the planning process. To register for the webinar, visit http:// Starting preparations now, delegat-

ing responsibilities, and developing a month-by-month plan will help ensure that your practice is not overwhelmed when the implementation date finally arrives. For additional questions or ser- vices, email TMA’s certified coders at or call (800) 880-1300, ext. 1414. Organized medicine tried to delay

TMA policies, procedures guide

To help medical practices implement and enforce their own policies and procedures, TMA offers for purchase Policies & Procedures: A Guide for Medical Practices. A hard copy of the guide with customizable CD is $295 for members and $395 for nonmembers. The customizable CD alone is $255 for members and $355 for nonmembers. To order the guide, call the TMA Knowledge Center at (800)

880-7955 or e-mail Human resources attorney Regina Williams consulted with TMA in developing the human resources portion of the policies and procedures guide. She has some advice to help medical practices effectively implement those policies and procedures. She says the office manager or other designated human

resources professional should obtain written proof that the practice furnished new employees with the guide and instruct- ed employees to read the guide. She adds it’s a good idea for a practice to conduct an orientation session. “Practices should arrange an orientation session with all employees to explain the new policies and procedures guide. The practice should require proof of receipt of the manual and obtain in writing proof the employee attended the orientation session. The employee also has the opportunity to ask ques- tions during the session,” she said. As the practice updates the manual, Ms. Williams says the

same training and notification procedures should be required, with a written record of attendance and written proof the em- ployee received the revised policies.


ICD-10 implementation, but the Cen- ters for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said no.

CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn

Tavenner said in a letter to American Medical Association President Jeremy Lazarus, MD, that a previously grant- ed one-year extension gave physicians “adequate time to train their coders, complete system changeovers, and conduct testing.” She said further de- lay “would fundamentally alter a pol- icy the health care industry has been working since 2009 to implement. ICD-10 is not only the foundation for health care reform, but is a corner- stone of several integrated programs that build toward a modernized health care system and work in concert to achieve better care, better health, and lower costs.” In December, TMA joined AMA and other state medical societies to ask CMS to stop the switch from ICD-9 to ICD- 10 and work with all interested parties to find a better replacement for ICD-9. They said ICD-10 “will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual pa- tient care, and will compete with other costly transitions associated with qual- ity and health IT reporting programs.” They added that switching to ICD-10 will cost a medical practice anywhere from $83,290 to $2.7 million, depending on size of the practice, and will disrupt physicians’ efforts to implement health

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