Seattle, WA, December 12, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- The deadline for the ICD-10 conversion isn’t too far away. While it might still be a year before your home health agency needs to make the switch, waiting until the last minute for your OASIS and 485s conversions isn’t a good idea. The Department of Health and Human Services has set a date of October 1, 2014, to give home health companies ample time to make the conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding. This means you have more time to prepare, but that year-long extension shouldn’t go to waste.
If you haven’t started preparing already, now’s the time to begin working on the conversions that will affect your entire organization. You will want to develop a transition team to assist with this process or engage home health consultants like Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to make sure you comply with these complex changes.
How the Transition to ICD-10 Coding Impacts Your Home Health Agency
The ICD-10 conversion is mandatory for home health agencies. Making the move will affect the reimbursement process that is followed by insurance companies, payers, and the intermediaries that handle those transactions for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There will be no grace period once this new coding system goes live, so you must get your home health agency prepared to operate using ICD-10 coding by the October 1st deadline.
Claims that are submitted without ICD-10 codes will be instantly rejected and you’ll be required to resubmit them with the proper coding. This could result in reimbursement delays, reduced cash flow, non-compliance penalties, and more. You can avoid all of these potentially devastating financial issues by being proactive and getting started right away. Home health consultants who are well-versed in all areas of the ICD-10 conversion can make your transition faster, easier, and hassle-free.
There are several steps your agency can take to help prepare a solid foundation for the ICD-10 conversion, including:
· Identifying what systems you’re using that will migrate over to ICD-10 coding, such as electronic health records, clinical documents, contracts, vendors, etc.
· Contacting your vendors to see when they will upgrade their systems to ICD-10 and seeing whether or not there is an upgrade fee
· Modifying contracts and reimbursement schedules to reflect the conversion to ICD-10 coding
· Assessing your home health agency to see how the transition will impact your billing process—will it slow your billing process down?
· Identifying the ICD-10 codes you’ll need for the services your agency provides most often
· Taking advantage of the ICD-10 coding and training expertise of home health consultants and CMS online assistance
The Importance of Acting Today
Preparing for the ICD-10 conversion will require more than just sending your coders to classes. If your entire agency is not prepared for the change you could face significant revenue losses—or worse, go bankrupt. It is imperative for your home health agency to have contracts and vendors up-to-date on all of the ICD-10 coding changes.
Additionally, all clinical field and supervisory staff must be educated and trained regarding the documentation requirements that go with the ICD-10 conversion. Failure to provide the increased and specific documentation for the new ICD-10 codes will trigger denials and reductions in payments. All of your in-house systems should be ready for the conversion the second it goes live, which means it’s time to start integrating ICD-10 codes and testing your systems for the transition.
The amount of preparation and training needed to get your staff ready for ICD-10 coding should be incorporated into your agency’s budget. Evaluate your home health agency and determine the most important areas of focus. For extra assistance, you can always count on the home health consultants at Kenyon HomeCare Consulting to address the operational and financial challenges of transitioning to ICD-10. Our team of home health professionals can help you improve cash flow, minimize revenue risks, and provide training so your entire agency is prepared for the ICD-10 conversion.
Schedule an appointment online at www.KenyonHCC.com or call 206.721.5091 today to speak with one of our home health consultants about the best ways to prepare and ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10 coding.