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Surveys show that less than 50% of physicians know what the ICD-10 transition is. I’m here to tell you, you NEED to know! ICD-10 WILL affect your paycheck, in fact, it could leave you with a 3-9 month delay in reimbursements.

Now that I’ve got your attention, the transition will take place on October 1, 2014. CMS has stated that there will be absolutely no more delays. With that being said, now’s the time to start preparing. Below are seven steps you should take to prepare.

1.Communicate: Identify which members of your staff will be directly involved in the transition. Talk with them about it and create a training schedule for all three groups ( billers/coders, clinical staff, and executive staff).

2. Talk with your Practice Management Systems vendor about their transition process. Ask them when you can test the ICD-10 system. Be sure that their system can handle both code sets.

3. Roles and Responsibilities: Create a list of what will be needed for the transition. Assign roles and responsibilities, and be sure everyone is clear on what their role will be.

4. Create a budget: Your budget should account for training , software upgrades, and new forms needed to collect the more specific information necessary for ICD-10 coding.

5. Build relationships with community banks. Community banks are usually more flexible with loans. You may need to secure a loan or line of credit to reduce the impact and maintain operations.

6. Diversify your revenue streams: Are there other products/services you can offer to increase your revenue?

7. Choose a compliance officer. This person will be fully trained in both ICD9 and ICD 10. They will be the go to person for your staff if they have ICD 10 questions or concerns. They will also ensure that you are collecting the correct patient information, they will assist in patient and staff education, and they will conduct internal reviews and set up external reviews (once every 6-12 months).

If this transition were to take place today, would you be ready?

By Candy Caverley: Founder, Signet Medical Training