ICD-10: Ready to flip the switch?

With very little time remaining until October 1, healthcare providers are anxiously awaiting the change to ICD-10. The vast majority of providers have likely taken some steps to prepare, but as Robert Tennant, an adviser for the Medical Group Management Association, told Modern Healthcare, October 1 will be “like the garbage disposal. You’re flipping a switch and hoping a fork isn’t in there.”

To mitigate the damage from any forks lurking in your disposal, Healthcare IT News recommends creating an “ICD-10 command center.” The website profiled Rochester Regional Health System in New York, which has distributed contact information for its most experienced billing, IT and coding reps, and prepared examples of scenarios in which they or other subject matter experts can help. The system’s IT helpdesk will also have extra staff on hand for the change.

While these steps obviously take advantage of the large scale of a health system, smaller providers can also mimic the approach by identifying in advance how they will triage problems after the switch, and who the best contacts are for each type of issue.

For its part, CMS has issued an infographic that boils down the preparation steps to ABCs: Assess how the change will affect your practice, Be sure your systems are ready, and Contact your vendors.

ABILITY stands at the ready to transmit ICD-10 codes, and can also help providers automate monitoring of Medicare claims statuses. Additionally, our ABILITY | PC-ACE service gives providers access to the General Equivalence Mapping (GEM) codes provided by CMS, which can serve as a helping hand in transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

While the change is very near, there is still time to set up some safety nets for your business. In fact, now is the ideal point to take a high-level look at your preparations and determine how you’ll spend your time wisely on October 1 and beyond.