A Year for Transitions: Preparing for ICD-10

Are you ready for ICD-10?
Are you ready for ICD-10?

I was driving around in the last minute flurry of preparing for the Christmas and an old favorite of mine came on the radio. It was the R.E.M. song “The End of the World as We Know It”. I laughed to myself considering the irony. In the last few months we’ve seen a major software vendor warn practice owners to be sure they had enough money set aside to survive the coming apocalypse of the transition to ICD-10 and the complete mishandling of the insurance rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe every practice owner should have adequate resources set aside for the inevitable “rainy day” events that can plague any business owner. However, I don’t consider ICD-10 to be one of those. I believe it belongs in the same category as Y2K and the 4010 TO 5010 EDI transitions: much ballyhooed potential disasters that were non-events.

If “luck” is the result of preparation meeting opportunity, “disaster”, in the business world, is inadequate preparation meeting a deadline. With that is mind, let’s remember that preparation is the key to transition to ICD-10. Simply do the following:
• Software: What’s your vendor’s plan to be ready? If you do your own billing you’ll need to update your software in time to test with your clearing house and any payers you bill directly
• Clearinghouse/EDI formats: You will have to test with your clearinghouse and your clearinghouse will have to test with the payers. Your clearinghouse probably has a plan posted on their website. That would be a good place to check! If you do your own EDI formatting you’ll want to be sure whoever is responsible for that is preparing the new formats and has their testing plan in place.
• Staff training: your therapists and office personnel will need training. Be careful here. Don’t train too early or they won’t remember it all before they need it. Lot’s of resources will be available. Watch for announcements from trusted sources like APTA, your software vendor and billing service.

The transition will happen October 1, 2014 so don’t wait until the last minute. By the way, it’s never been a better time to consider outsourcing your billing, collections and technology to experts. If you want more information of the possible benefits check out our physical therapy software suite RevFlow.

For prime evidence of what happens when you don’t prepare you need look no further than the rollout of the Affordable Care Act insurance provisions that took effect January 1. Just over one million Americans have signed up. Those were the ones that either could figure out how to use the government website or had nothing better to do than to wait for the various pages to load. Of course, over five million people had their existing plans cancelled because they didn’t meet the standards of the ACA. I wonder what they are doing for insurance in 2014? That’s your government dollars at work!

Well, it’s a good time to remember the old saying from WWII…it’s known as the 6-P Principle…Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance. Words to live by…check with Kathleen Sebelius for confirmation!

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