You’ve heard it plenty by now: ICD-10 has been delayed until October 1, 2015. But just because Congress delayed the inevitable doesn’t mean you should dilly-dally on your prep work. After all, the early bird gets the worm, and in this case, the well-prepared bird will experience a smoother transition and more accurate reimbursements. Sounds like a good worm to me. Need further convincing? Here’s why you shouldn’t delay your ICD-10 prep:
Change is inevitable.
When faced with change, many of us like to dig our heels into the ground and resist to the bitter end. Perhaps that’s why ICD-10 got delayed for the third time earlier this year. As Jon Lindekugel, the president of 3M Health Information Systems, explained, “The vote to delay ICD-10 is a vote for the past, not the future of health care.” But whether we switch to ICD-10 or skip right to ICD-11, we will not use ICD-9 forever. Change is inevitable, and resistance is futile, so why bother? Embrace the change; address it straight on. The sooner everyone prepares, the better off we’ll be. (See bit above about early birds and worms.)
There’s a lot to do.
ICD-10 requires a good deal of preparation, including:
- Learning the new coding structure
- Training your staff
- Conducting internal and external testing
- Developing a plan to address claim denials
With so much to do, time truly is of the essence. It behooves you and your practice to have as much time as possible. In other words, don’t procrastinate.
Wasting dollars doesn’t make any sense.
ICD-10 will have a significant impact on finances. In fact, the AAFP advises providers to have at least three months’ worth of extra cash revenue available, while others recommend having at least six months’ worth on hand. If you can’t save that much, Heidi Jannenga suggests “having a plan B, such as a line of credit or supplemental income to ensure your clinic’s viability during the transition.” In line with the theme of this blog, though, she warns not to wait on this because “you’ll have to vie for financing and pay higher interest rates.” Ultimately, the longer you hold off on preparing for ICD-10, the more at-risk your practice will be for inaccurate reimbursements or worse, denied claims. As Avery Hurt explains in this Physicians Practice article, “Thorough preparation is the key to sailing through this transition with your finances in good shape.”
How are you handling the ICD-10 delay? Now that you know why you shouldn’t procrastinate, what are you doing to move your prep plans off the back burner?