November 5, 2013
Based on experiences other countries have had transitioning to ICD-10, experts are predicting that productivity will drop by 20–40 percent when ICD-10 hits. Unless certain precautions are taken now, practices could find themselves in deep financial waters a year from now.
Some health organizations, like Sutter Health, plan to go live with ICD-10 early. They want to give their staff extra time to familiarize themselves with the new code set so the backlog won’t be as heavy when ICD-10 is required.
At first glance, the goal to go live in May rather than October may seem overly ambitious. But healthcare is hurtling toward one of the biggest changes it’s ever seen—ambitious goals may be the only thing that will ensure a practice’s financial survival.
Preparing coders is one of the first steps to take to ensure a smooth (or at least, smoother) ICD-10 transition.
In addition to preparing coders, keep a close eye on your current cash flow and look for ways you can improve it before the ICD-10 compliance deadline.
In short, determine now what is normal as far as financial performance goes. At the very least, this will alert you of your current financial problems so you can work on diminishing them before they add to the pile of revenue issues caused by ICD-10.
Despite being on the radar for many years, most medical organizations do not feel ready for the ICD-10 switchover. But if there is anything to be learned from other countries who have already faced the ICD-10 change, it is that preparation is key. The earlier you know what your needs will be, the earlier you can prepare for them, and the better off you’ll be come October 2014.