ICD-10 has been a huge buzz word for a long time, and it has reached epic levels as of late.Â AsÂ expected, providers voice their concerns via our normal support channels but surprisingly we hear the same concerns when we are being treated as patients.Â Yes, some providers know we are in the business so it is natural for them to voice their opinions about the new codes.Â But as we visit clinics, as patients, and hear negative chatter about the change — it is time to soften the blow.
This is a common phenom in the medical industry right now.Â So I thought it would be a good idea to try and settle the waters a little bit.Â Most of the fear is being spun by people that can profit from the chaos.Â Much of the fear is also coming from misinformation and propaganda that isn’t true.
Admittedly, change can be hard.Â There is the fear of the unknown and the concern of the impact it may have on your practice.Â So many times, that fear is preyed upon by those looking to score some decent paydays or at a minimum a few moments in the spotlight.Â But at the end of the day, this is a change that you can make extremely quickly with the right tools and the right approach.
A nurse that is in charge of a portion of medical records at her clinic was extremely frustrated and concerned about the massive number of code changes she would have to make.Â Upon further discussion, she was referring to ALL of the historical medical records.Â When asked why she was doing this, she responded that it was required.Â Not true.Â Though she did not believe this at first, it is NOT true that you must go back in and retro-actively update all of your historical records.Â ICD-10 only pertains to future encounters and claims.
Part of the problem is that many EHRs (Electronic Health Records) don’t have an easy way to deal with previous problems or diagnosis coming forward to new encounters.Â PracticeStudio has been ICD-10 ready for over 2 years.Â Part of this includes a cross-map tool that helps you to filter down to possible ICD-10 codes from an existing ICD-9 code.Â This makes the decision process much easier.Â In fact, as part of a very near release, there is a new tool that is being introduced in PracticeStudio (actually re-introduced) called DxWizard that is an enhanced version of the existing toolset.Â So keep an eye out for a future blog post showing this new feature.Â The intent is to make the ICD-9 to ICD-10 decision process even easier for the user allowing the provider to focus more on the patient than which code to pick.
But There Are So Many Codes?
True, the codes did more than quadruple, and you will have to learn the new codes, but you won’t have to know ALL 70,000+ codes.Â If you stop and think for a minute, depending on your practice, you probably don’t use more than several hundred codes now.Â You didn’t have to use or know all 17,000 codes before on ICD-9.Â Most of the new codes pertain to left, right, bilateral and things of this nature.Â So it is generally a modifier to the primary code.
PracticeStudio and the cross-mapping feature will help you find the new ICD-10 code.Â Once you do this a time or two it will get easier each time.
I Don’t Want This To Hurt My Cash Flow!
This is the number one fear most people have regarding moving over to a new coding system.Â But here is the good news.Â If you are using the electronic claims then most scrubbing tools, including those at the clearing houses, are quick to let you know if something doesn’t line up (i.e. an ICD-9 code instead of an ICD-10 code).
Yes there is always a small learning curve when dealing with insurance companies and/or CMS when something changes.Â But the Claims Management tools in PracticeStudio will really help you to quickly resolve these and get them resubmitting quickly if something does go wrong.Â And in truth, between the cross-mapping tools and scrubbing tools, most of the common errors should be avoided altogether.
In The End, It Is Just a Code
PracticeStudio has been ICD-10 ready for more than 2 years.Â In fact, the Medicaid programs in several states have required ICD-10 codes for the last couple of years.Â Learning which ICD-10 codes to use will be FAR easier this go around due to all of the tools made available as well as the fact you already understand the system and how it works.Â Feel confident moving forward with ICD-10 because in the end….this is just a code and you have already been here before.Â But now you are a seasoned coder with many tools to help you make the change, let alone all of your experience.Â So make the change with confidence knowing that this will only be a small blip on your radar and it won’t be long and this worry will be a distant memory!