It Is Time To Embrace ICD-10

CMS recently released this information about the ICD-10 delay.

healthcare software industry updatesWhen the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) was passed on April 1, 2014, a lot of people read the part about the ICD-10 delay thinking it meant that it was a fixed one year delay.  In actuality, the law stated that “the Secretary may not adopt ICD-10 prior to October 1, 2015.”  So October 1, 2015 was the soonest it would be allowed.

This recent release of information about the ICD-10 delay by CMS states 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.  The rule will also require HIPPA covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through September 30, 2015.”

44% of Physicians Were Unprepared for ICD-10 Prior To The Delay

In a report called the Practice Profitability Index, 2014 Edition, of the 5,064 physicians that contributed insights to the report, 44% of them reported that they didn’t know whether they would be ready for the ICD-10 transition.  Another 25% stated that they were certain they would not be prepared.

Luckily for the nearly 70% who were either not prepared or weren’t sure they were prepared that the date for implementation of ICD-10 has been delayed.  Not being prepared for the adoption of the new code set would have caused major disruptions to a practices billing and collections processes.

So, don’t you think it is time to get prepared for ICD-10 in 2015?  There is no time like right now to start preparing.  Don’t leave your practice in a position where your billing and collections processes are majorly disrupted.

How To Prepare For ICD-10

The first and best thing to do right now if you are not already prepared is to create a plan to become prepared.  Several months back AZCOMP put together The Small Practice Guide To ICD-10 Deadlines to help small practices prepare for the adoption of ICD-10 Codes.  The guide still references 2014 as the time to switch, but the information is all still relevant and useful to your practice in making preparations.  Use the guide and make preparations.  If you need to consult with someone on the best way to make your preparations, please give us a call at AZCOMP.

We understand that there is definitely a cost associated with adopting and implementing ICD-10, and also associated with many of the other regulations bearing down on the health care industry.  This is a stressful situation for everyone involved, including us at AZCOMP.  We spend a lot of time trying to understand the impact of each regulation, and of each change to the regulations.  We try to take this information and provide solutions that are helpful and useful.

Getting More Efficient Has To Be Part Of The Long Term Plan

While the cost of running your practice increases due to trying to comply with regulations, your practice must look for ways to become more productive and efficient.  Do more with less.  That is the challenge in every industry and with every business.  How do you do it?  It is a difficult task to say the least.

We advise you to take a look at some solutions we have to offer that should truly help your small practice become more efficient allowing you to get more done (see more patients) with fewer resources (the same amount of staff you currently have).  The patient statements tool built into Medisoft and Lytec is an easy thing you can implement right now to help your practice get more done with less.  The appointment reminder system that we have to offer may also be a useful tool for you in that it automatically reminds patients of their appointment without your staff having to do anything (they can be working on other things instead of making time consuming phone calls).

If you haven’t already, switching to an EMR is also a way to increase productivity, increase efficiency, allow your practice to get more done with fewer resources, and most importantly provide better patient care.  There are a lot of benefits to EMR that totally overshadow any meaningful use credits or trying to avoid penalties.  Your practice should take a look at how using an EMR system can improve your practice for the long run.  AZCOMP offers a very affordable solution to get into EMR and start reaping the benefits of the system.