ICD vs Y2K
The new ICD-10 diagnostic codes that took effect on October 1 have come and gone. While no serious downfalls were reported, it is important to note that, much like Y2K, it was necessary to be prepared for the changeover. Like Y2K, the switch to the new ICD-10 codes was an enormous technological update that required the medical field to upgrade in order to be compliant. And while the changes have not yielded any disastrous results, there was a lot of work involved beforehand in preparation. Like many of the smaller retailers and business establishments that failed to complete the necessary updates prior to Y2K, private practices who have not properly upgraded to accommodate the ICD-10 changeover will be feeling the pain of denied reimbursements as a result.
While no significant effects to the national healthcare system have surfaced, there are still numerous post-implementation ramifications that will affect physicians and medical facilities as well as the general public, many of whom are unaware of the new coding system as well as its significance.
The new International Classification of Diseases, Version 10 (ICD-10) consists of 68,000 codes, compared to 13,000 in the ICD-9 code set that has been used since its publication in 1978. The new set of codes not only cover more diseases than their predecessor, but are much more specific and require more detailed documentation by physicians. Supporters of the ICD-10 codes predict that the new set of codes will contribute to quality improvement and expedite international communications, as other countries currently use ICD-10. However, the transition to ICD-10 was expected to be rocky as well as expensive. In fact, a survey conducted by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM) found that the average ICD-10-related expenditures for a physician practice with six or fewer providers is $8,167 with average expenditures per provider of $3,430.
The biggest stumbling block in the ICD-10 codes to date has been preparation. Many practices have underestimated just how much training and testing would be required to comply with the government mandate. Perhaps the biggest impact will be on a medical facility’s productivity level, as the implementation of a new system of coding for which staff may not be properly trained will require more hours in research, as well as more room for error.
Is Your Practice Properly Prepared?
Main Street Medical has consistently been in the forefront of medical applications as well as consulting and revenue cycle management services for private practices and larger medical facilities, with a team of local professionals to ensure that your business is both profitable and compliant.
Our extensive knowledge and experience in the medical billing and claims industry has taught us that proper preparation is the key to a smooth transition – with our team of professionals taking the necessary steps to ensure that the ICD-10 transition was a smooth one. With the preparation and planning, we were able to successfully navigate the complex transition, ensuring a higher productivity level and less confusion that most of the smaller private medical practices are experiencing right now.
Much like the dire predictions of Y2K which failed to come to light, the ICD-10 changeover has come and gone without any drastic results, because of the level of preparation involved. Whether you are prepared, under prepared or unsure, to ensure you are compliant and profitable reach out to Main Street Medical today for a free evaluation of your billing operations.