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Six Months to Go… Is Your Organization Ready for ICD-10?

Hospital CEO compiles preparedness check-list

The clock is ticking to make sure health care organizations will be able to smoothly transition to the new ICD-10 coding set. Marty Fattig, CEO of Nemaha County Hospital in Auburn, Nebraska, has compiled a list of things hospitals should be doing now to be ready when the switch flips.

Legislation approved by the House to fix the sustainable growth rate did not include a provision to further delay transition to the new coding set. Most Beltway watchers expect the Senate to avoid doing so as well, Fattig says in H&HN Daily.

He offers the following check-list to consider when working on the ICD-10 implementation process:

Software Check

  • Be sure that all of your software is ICD-10 compliant. “Remember, this is not just a coding and billing project,” Fattig points out. “Many of your other clinical software systems also use ICD-10 codes.”
  • Do you have a stand-alone laboratory information system? If so, is it ready to accept ICD-10 codes?
  •  What about radiology and pharmacy?

Coder Readiness

  • Make sure your coders are ready.
  • Have they been dual coding for some time so that they have an idea how the different code sets are related and how they are different?
  • Do they understand what additional documentation they will need from providers to correctly code each case?

System Test

  • Test your system to see how it works with your Medicare administrative contractors and as many private vendors as possible. According to Fattig, “it is not only important to know if your systems works correctly; now is the time to find out if your payers are ready for this conversion.”

Physician Training

  • Make sure that your providers are familiar with the new codes and are willing to provide the extra documentation necessary.


  • Plan what to do if glitches to your system are found and payers are unable to process claims for awhile. “Several years ago we had a problem with Medicaid accepting our 835 electronic remittance transactions, and it was several months before we received payment for billed claims from them,” Fattig recalls.

“Implementation of ICD-10 is a major, organization-wide process,” he concludes. “When we combine this with every other major change that we must deal with, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. But if we start early and schedule the various processes involved in the implementation, it is doable.”

Source: H&HN Daily; April 10, 2015.


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