After several delays, ICD-10 is set to take effect Oct. 1, 2015. Payors will accept only claims coded with ICD-10 after this date. With fewer than six months until the implementation, physical therapy practices need to consider their timelines and what they can do now to make the transition as smooth as possible. Now that the health care industry is moving toward the final phases before implementation, what’s left to do before October?
Ensure staff members know how to code
Because the transition date seems to be moving ahead as planned, physical therapy providers should already have selected a platform and planned for training. Clinic owners need to improve documentation to make coding easier. If your clinic hasn’t already done so, two immediate priorities include: checking in with software vendors to ensure all the necessary upgrades are available and identifying where diagnosis codes are used today according to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
Find out what types of ICD-10 training your vendors offer to finish planning the process. Vendors should already know their external testing schedules and have some training sessions scheduled. Although coding in ICD-10 may seem overwhelming, physical therapy clinics only need to utilize the codes that relate to their field. In preparation for ICD-10, practices should think about their most common codes so they can learn what they need in ICD-10.
Clinics need to prepare for coding changes.
Prioritize testing schedules
Many of the remaining actions center around testing. While there are almost six months left until the deadline, testing for various aspects of ICD-10 may take until the end of September. Physical therapy clinics need to identify the health plans that lead to the highest volume, frequency and value of claims and focus on testing these systems first. This helps prevent potential issues with cash flow after ICD-10 takes effect.
It’s important to plan testing with key stakeholders. All practices should have an ICD-10 project manager by this point and involve the staff members who use the system most frequently. Additionally, coders can choose common codes to test, according to ICD-10 Monitor. The success of these initiatives depends on clinics making time for employees to devote to the testing schedule. Part two of this series will cover final tests that need to be conducted for the last few months before implementation.
This article is brought to you by PREFERRED Therapy Providers Inc. PREFERRED is the nation’s leading payor management services network. Our expertise is working with physical, occupational and speech therapy practices – from single clinics to multiple clinic locations.