Published 4/1/2015
Cindy Bracy, MPH, RHIA

ICD-10 Implementation: Final Countdown!

The ICD-10 implementation deadline is less than 6 months away; is your practice ready to make the switch? Evaluating where you are in the implementation process is crucial to the success of your practice. To ensure that claim denials are kept to a minimum, you will be required to test and update software and train staff on the correct application of ICD-10 codes no later than Sept. 30, 2015.

Maybe you’ve been wondering whether you should be spending time moving toward ICD-10 implementation, given last year’s last-minute delay. At this point, there are no viable indications that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will prolong or halt the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Barring an act of Congress, ICD-10 will go into effect as planned on Oct. 1, 2015.

The good news is that transition may not cost as much as previously anticipated. Practices are reporting that out-of-pocket expenses to prepare for the implementation are far lower than initial estimates. According to the American Health Information Management Association, “the average ICD-10-related expenditures for a physician practice with six or fewer providers are $8,167 with average expenditures per provider of $3,430.”

It is not too late to begin and plan for ICD-10 implementation in your office. To help you outline and streamline the process, the AAOS has developed an implementation timeline. Use it as a guide to determine where your orthopaedic practice stands in the implementation process. The timeline maps the steps required for a practice to be ready to use the new coding classification for compliant billing and reimbursement.

Table 1 shows the complete timetable.

Keep in mind that your practice may be farther along than others with regard to compliance readiness. In addition, many of these processes overlap. The timeline is not meant as an all-inclusive list of steps but a general guide to highlight the major steps in the transition process.

Visit the AAOS Practice Management Center at www.aaos.org/pracman for additional ICD-10 resources. To order the Academy’s 10-part webinar series on implementing ICD-10, visit www.aaos.org/icd10

Cindy Bracy, MPH, RHIA, is the practice management group manager in the AAOS department of electronic media, evaluations, course operations and practice management. She can be reached at bracy@aaos.org