Observing how your competition is handling the transition to ICD-10 can be both motivational and instructional. If your competitors are better prepared for the new code than your organization, wisely step up your efforts now and learn whatever you can before the transition occurs on October 1st.
There are different levels of preparation for ICD-10. First, there are those who have given the transition little to no thought. Next, there are those who have assessed the risks and made some preliminary plans and a few minor changes. Finally, there are those with a well developed transition plan that has already been put into practice.
Below, we look at 10 things your competitors can teach you about ICD-10 that can help your organization attain the highest level of preparation.
1. Temporary Outsourcing
One strategy many home health agencies are using is to outsource coding during the transition period to provide more time to hire new coders or retrain their existing clinicians and coders. Preparing for the new ICD-10 coding changes is easier when staff are free from current coding duties and outsourcing prevents reimbursement delays.
2. Permanent Outsourcing
Many home health organizations have found ICD-10, which is more specific, broad and requires more extensive documentation than ICD-9 is too much to manage with clinicians or non home health coders. Experienced, certified coders engaged from specialty companies can minimize errors, speed up submissions, and increase reimbursements.
3. Use Both Codes During Transition
By engaging in dual coding exercises before October 1st, you will learn the differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10. This practice increases your odds of a smooth, orderly transition, gives you the chance to compare the coding changes and work through any process issues with your software vendor.
4. “Cheat Sheets” and Practice Sessions
Give your staff members every tool possible to make the ICD-10 transition easier. Develop a “cheat sheet” listing the most used codes and what must be documented during a client visit to support these codes. Schedule regular practice sessions and test familiarity with the ICD-10 coding changes.
5. Hire a Consultant
Since every employee in your organization must prepare for ICD-10, hiring a professional consultant to help with the transition is often wise. A consultant will establish process changes, oversee education and provide guidance during this complex transition.
6. Shorten Your Revenue Cycle
As it is likely there will be temporary cash-flow and revenue reduction problems in the immediate aftermath of ICD-10 implementation. Prepare now and “tighten your revenue cycle reins” to minimize the impact.
7. Secure an ICD-10 Cash Reserve
Many companies are budgeting for the expected ICD-10 implementation impacts and setting up transition funds to see them through. These funds may be critical to met payroll and keep the lights on.
8. Reevaluate Documentation Processes
The more effective your documentation processes are, the better you will fare under the stricter requirements of ICD-10. Continued clinician documentation education and reports indicating who needs specific training will be necessary following ICD-10 implementation.
9. Integrate All Computer Software
Disconnected and incompatible programs slow down reimbursement and make extra work. New or upgraded ICD-10 software must be obtained and integrated with all computer systems.
10. Specialize Care for Chronic Diseases
By finding niche specialty areas and focusing on elite care for chronic diseases, home health providers can garner more referrals than their competition. Chronic disease education will be especially important when ICD-10 puts higher knowledge demands on your staff. Providing disease-specific training for your aides, will give you the edge when implementation hits.
Kenyon HomeCare Consulting offers help with the preparatory steps your competitors have already discovered. Coding Plus; goes well beyond mere coding to ensure your success in the this new ICD-10 environment.
Contact Kenyon HomeCare Consulting today or call 206-721-5091 to ensure your agency will be better prepared than your competition for ICD-10!