July 16, 2015 by Lisa Brammer
This time it appears like it’s really going to happen. ICD-10 is scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2015—no more delays. Are you ready—financially?
One way to prepare your practice is to review your key revenue metrics before the conversion. What’s the status of your pending claims? How many rejected claims are you sitting on now? You want to make sure you have a good handle on how things are going now. If your organization is having issues processing ICD-9’s, guess how things are going to go once you transition to the ICD-10? Now is the time to tighten your processes so they can be as efficient as possible.
If you have good data documenting your history of processing ICD-9 it will be easier for you to identify problems after the conversion. If you see an increase in pending claims or denials, you can identify and attack the issue(s) quickly.
Experts have suggested that since denials could increase by as much as 200 percent after the new billing codes go into effect, practices should have four to six months of cash flow in reserve. If this isn’t possible, it’s a good idea to have a line of credit available to meet monthly obligations. Once it’s in place, you can access it whenever necessary (and pay it back when you’re able) rather than scrambling to apply for credit if you find yourself short.
Since a temporary loss of revenue seems to be imminent, you’ll want to look for ways to contain costs and reduce expenses, but now is not the time to reduce your staff size—you’re going to need “all hands on deck” to get through this conversion.
“Robust contingency plans must be ready on day one of the ICD-10 switchover to save precious healthcare dollars and reduce unnecessary administrative tasks that take valuable time and resources away from patient care,” said recent AMA President Robert M. Wah in a written statement.
There are many conflicting reports about how much this conversion will cost, but one thing all experts agree on—-it will be thousands of dollars for the smallest of practices. Plan ahead, it’s better to be proactive rather than reactive.
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