Your Key to ICD-10 Guidelines – Start Your Changes Now!

In an article on the AMA website, 'Take Charge of Your Data', it is stated that there is some concern within the AMA when it comes to how health insurance companies are making payments to the physicians. These concerns and ways to deal with them are explained in detail in the article. They ask:

Sometimes do you get the feeling that insurers, third-party payers and other entities know more about your practice data than you do? Are they using your data to tell you how to practice medicine? You need to know and understand your own practice data to maximize the quality and efficiency of your practice and to ensure that these reporting entities are not using your data irresponsibly.

Making sense of practice data is what we do, but if you are like most physicians, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with data overload, especially regarding the proposed changes in ICD-10. In order to prepare for the change (whenever it takes place and it seems it will) is to begin improving your clinical documentation improvement (CDI) efforts now.

On the ICD10Watch site, Carl Natale stressed this point in his recent blog post. He pointed out that physicians need to improve their medical documentation in order to be ready for the new ICD-10 guidelines, summarizing three points from Mary Standfill’s presentation during the AHIMA summit in April. She shared these tips.

  • "Tweak the charge description master to best capture procedures"
  • "Redesign forms to offer physicians documentation pick lists"
  • "Launch an old-fashioned physician education effort, building specific documentation awareness over time".

Natale mentions in his May 15th article that there are 68,000 diagnosis codes in ICD-10 and many people feel this will be too much of a burden for the average physician’s office to deal with.  Medical billing and coding is a time-consuming and complicated process. Especially now with changes that are starting to take place. While the AMA wishes to delay the start of the ICD-10 guidelines for two more years, others want to move ahead. One option is to have a staggered deadline which will ease the difficulties of changing over to the new guidelines. It is going to happen, one way or another. Are you ready?

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