If you are involved in healthcare, you know a big deadline is looming. The date is October 1, 2014. That’s the deadline for all healthcare providers to begin using Clinical Modification ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and Procedure Coding System ICD-10-PCS for inpatient procedure coding.

It will be a huge undertaking, and if healthcare providers, vendors, and payers are not already making the transition, they need to begin immediately to prepare for the change to the new coding guidelines.

What’s involved?

The change will require the installation and testing of new software and training for physicians, staff members and administrators. Healthcare providers also will need to develop new policies and guidelines and update their documentation. They also will have to create links from their ICD-9 codes currently in use to the ICD-10 counterparts.

Providers can ease the transition by relying on technology – checking with vendors of electronic health records to make sure they are ready and able to handle the data storage for the new code sets, and obtaining training online from healthcare associations, such as AHIMA.

Departmental transitions.

If you are a large healthcare provider, CMS recommends that you should be in the process now of creating a project management team, putting together an interdepartmental steering committee and designating an ICD-10 coordination manager. This should be followed by an impact assessment and examination of the possible changes you need to make to workflow and other business processes.

Providers will then need to find out who will require training in ICD-10. Then they will need to start on an implementation plan as well as a communications plan for all medical and administrative staff. Providers will need to come up with a budget for the implementation process, which includes hardware and software acquisition as well as training.

Also, providers will need to check with vendors and billing services to gauge their readiness to make the switch.  A planning and implementation process will need to be developed with the vendors and payers as well.

Vendors, if they have not done so already, need to begin working on the transition process as well. Steps to take now include charting the implementation process, determining what the requirements are for the new products, estimating budgets, conducting a re-engineering analysis, and beginning product development.

Payers, if they have not already begun the transition process, need to move immediately to set up a project management team and steering committee, and conduct an impact assessment.

Payers also need to develop an implementation strategy for both the business and technical areas. Payers will need to plan for and implement training programs for designated staff in the new coding guidelines and for training in translating coverage policies from the old coding guidelines to the new. Then payers need to convert their coverage policies to fit the ICD-10 code sets, and to develop a plan for making the coverage change so that they maintain consistency with the old policies as the company moves to the new coding guidelines.

We don’t have to tell you how large an undertaking the transition to ICD-10 will be. If you need the IT professionals well versed in the tools and strategies healthcare facilities need today, contact Morgan Hunter Healthcare. We will find IT professionals with top-of-the-line skills to help you with assessments, implementation, project management, Go-Live support, and more. Contact us today.