March marks a shift for small and medium medical practices that are working on their ICD-10 transitions. According to timelines provided by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), small and medium-sized practices should have completed a significant amount of planning by now.
  • Review ICD-10 resources from CMS, trade associations, payers, and vendors.
  • Inform your staff/colleagues of upcoming changes (1 month).
  • Create an ICD-10 project team (1-2 days).
  • Identify how ICD-10 will affect your practice (1-2 months).
  • Develop and complete an ICD-10 project plan for your practice (1-2 weeks).
  • Estimate and secure budget  — potential costs include updates to practice management systems, new coding guides and superbills, staff training (2 months).
  • Ask your payers and vendors — software/systems, clearinghouses, billing services –about ICD-10 readiness (2 months).
  • Review changes in documentation requirements and educate staff by looking at frequently used ICD-9 codes and new ICD-10 codes (ongoing step; will last beyond Oct. 1, 2014).

From now through the rest of 2013, you need to:

Train key personnel who will be involved in ICD-10 testing.
Monitor vendors and implement new systems and upgrades.
Test internal systems with ICD-10 codes.
Starting Oct. 1, 2013, test with external partners.


The CMS timeline suggests formal ICD-10 training for the rest of the staff can start Jan. 1, 2014.


Right now, train someone. Choose a staff member who can:

Review charts and documentation.
Practice ICD-10 coding to test documentation and reimbursement impact.
Test updated systems.
Train other staff members.

You need as much knowledge as possible. Gain it and use it while you wait for more pieces to fall into place.

Source: www.physbiztech.com; Carl Natale; March 18, 2013.

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