On March 31, the Senate passed legislation that bars the Department of Health and Human Services from mandating the conversion to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) set of diagnostic and procedural codes prior to October 1, 2015. And on May 2, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) posted that “the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015.”

Preparations in full swing

The delay in implementing ICD-10 will provide you with at least an additional year to successfully complete the task. For those of you that are well into the transition process, the postponement will provide more time for clinical documentation improvement, training, dual coding and interface adjustments. The CMS also provides timelines for small and medium practices so you can assess where your readiness level is at.

Some preparation still needed

Identify and complete the study necessary to master the new requirements, and practice these newly learned coding and documentation skills. This will lessen the productivity loss when the transition occurs. The delay provides sufficient time to practice and develop new habits, uncover potential documentation and denial issues, and better understand the new requirements. Use this time to identify referring physicians who repeatedly provide incomplete or incorrect documentation, and develop a process for reducing or eliminating the missing or incomplete information. Be sure to take advantage of the education and support opportunities offered by CMS, your professional societies, and consider external partners like McKesson who offer certified coders and customized training plans.

The next step for providers

CMS has also released “Road to 10,” an online resource built with the help of providers in small practices. This tool is intended to help small medical practices jumpstart their ICD-10 transition. “Road to 10” includes specialty references and gives providers the capability to build ICD-10 action plans tailored for their practice needs. This tool allows providers to build an action plan based on their specialty. The site also provides templates that can help in the transition process. This is a first step that providers can easily take for being ICD-10 ready by the new deadline.

For more information, visit the CMS website.


About the author

McKesson Business Performance Services offers services and consulting to help hospitals, health systems, and physician practices improve business performance, boost margins and transition successfully to value-based care.