As you may have heard, the Senate voted to delay ICD-10 implementation until October 1, 2015. Although the bill still has to be signed by the President, since it passed the House and the Senate, most are anticipating that it will become law.
Some of you may be breathing a sigh of relief, while others are asking…now what?!
Perhaps the most disturbing part of it all is the fact that the issue is not settled yet. Even if the President signs this into law, the legislation for the ICD-10 delay only affects Medicare. Private payers may choose to implement anyway.
In the meantime, here are a few thoughts and recommendations:
Chiropractic Considerations Regarding the ICD-10 Delay
If you follow the news headlines, you can easily see that the issue to delay ICD-10 was very controversial. Many entities have spent a lot of time and money already in preparation. Largely, the most unprepared group was individual physician practices and, of course, chiropractors are in that category.
At this point, most experts feel that ICD-10 is inevitable and that those in favor of the delay gained their last victory. The payers , EMR systems and even the government (Medicare) was ready or close. In other words, expect the October 2015 to happen as their may be no more room for physicians to whine about their lack of time to get ready.
Recommendations to Prepare Your Chiropractic Office
1. Don’t procrastinate. If the whining is justified, it’s because ICD-10 is a major undertaking and affects your coding, your billing AND your documentation. Oh and don’t forget — your bottom line. It’s not a quick fix conversion and takes time. If you wait for another last-minute delay and it doesn’t come, you’re sunk. Consider our online ICD-10 course to get you ready – from the convenience of your own home or office — and on your own time.
2. Work on your documentation. In some expert opinions, the single biggest challenge for ICD-10 will not come from coding but from accurately documenting your services to match the new codes. Fortunately, you can begin to practice this without even using the new codes. Review the training materials on documentation and begin to make the necessary changes now towards ICD-10 specificity. That way, when the time to implement the new codes comes, you will have already been used to your “new” documentation style.
3. Build Your Nest Egg NOW. Much of the anxiety about ICD-10 stems from the fact that no one believes it will be a seamless transition. The delayed date will not remove this obstacle, although it could certainly lessen the impact – if you prepare. Start tucking away some money now just in case. Ideally, if you can have a cash reserve of at least 3 months operating expenses, you should be able to weather most storms. That may sound like a lot of money, so do it in small chunks…starting now.
4. Stay Alert for MORE Changes: As mentioned above, this legislation only affects Medicare’s implementation of ICD-10. In theory, private payers could decide that they want ICD-10 anyway. And they could decide the date of implementation as well. Likely? Not very. But…in that mess of a scenario, you would still have to prepare for ICD-10 for your regular insurance carriers.
** NOTE: For those taking our Chiropractic 3.0 Seminars, we will still be teaching some ICD-10 materials that you can implement now to get you ready, but we have added more content on business strategies to help you through the changes of Obamacare and the current healthcare marketplace.