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An ICD-10 Checklist

Experts suggest steps for implementation readiness

Coding experts at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and at the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) have compiled a series of steps that health care organizations should be taking in the final weeks before the new ICD-10 (10th Revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems) codes take effect, according to HealthLeaders Media.

October 1, the day the codes must be implemented, is just weeks away, and there’s no time to waste, columnist Lena J. Weiner writes.

5 Weeks Before Implementation

“By now, the IT department should have identified every system that used ICD-9 [-CM] codes and validated that [the systems] are ready,” Melanie Endicott, a senior director at AHIMA, told Weiner. She also recommended reviewing contracts with third-party payers at this time. “Most private insurance companies have their own version of diagnosis-related groups,” Endicott noted.

“Now is the time to make sure system upgrades have gone through,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, CEO of AHIMA. “It’s also a good time for the finance team to test claim submissions with carriers and to check that the facility has ‘saved up some cash just in case.’”

Human resources should also consider bringing on a few temporary coders to help keep the coding team on track and to avoid productivity loss, Endicott said.

Case managers and finance should be ensuring that preauthorizations for procedures that will be performed on or after October 1 are completed in ICD-10.

Gordon suggested creating an organizational newsletter, either electronic or hard copy, to keep everyone up-to-date on ICD-10–related changes.

4 Weeks Before Implementation

The accounts receivable team should focus on getting as much off their plates as possible, Endicott said. “They need to get as much as they can out the door so they’ll be ready to go on October 1.”

Endicott also said this is a good time to start running mock cases to ensure that the team is fluent in ICD-10, that third parties are correctly looped in, and that everything is “all systems go.”

Endicott recommended using this time to conduct focused education classes with anyone in the hospital who should have an understanding of ICD-10 but seems to be behind.

2 Weeks Before Implementation

“This is the final push up to implementation,” said Devin Jopp, CEO of WEDI. By now, timelines and processes should be laid out, backups tested, and additional backups of data and systems created. In addition, the finance team should have gained familiarity with what “dashboard measures” mean by now.

10 Days Before Implementation

Now is the time for the helpdesk team to get ready for Day One, Endicott said. She suggested creating a phone extension where they can be reached from the end of September through the middle of October.

“There needs to be people on that team who have deep knowledge of ICD-10 and can either personally assist callers or figure out whom to send questions to,” Endicott said.

Health care organizations should also take this opportunity to determine points of contact at insurance companies and electronic health record vendors, Gordon suggested.

5 Days Before Implementation

“Organizations should have their cutover system and plan ready in addition to a disaster recovery plan,” Jopp said. There should be a contingency plan in place in case the organization needs to go to paper temporarily, and processes in place for worst-case scenarios.

Zero Hour

Jopp suggested that, on the night before implementation, test cases should be run before turning on ICD-10.

Source: HealthLeaders Media; August 25, 2015.

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