By:  Nancy J. Greener, RHIT, CCS, CPHQ, AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Even though the ICD-10-CM/PCS go live date was delayed one year, it is still coming!   9 months and counting!  Have you begun training your organization?  It’s very easy to think there is plenty of time and thereby delay plans for implementation and before you know it, you’re caught behind the eight ball.  Take advantage of the delay and act now.  Be ready to “Go Live” months in advance, instead of days! 

 Here are some basic steps to follow:

Team:  Form an implementation team that includes representatives from all departments that will be affected by ICD-10.  e.g. HIM/coding, Billing, Compliance, Finance, Information Systems/Technology, etc.

Perform a Gap analysis:  Assess all departments for what is currently being done and what needs to be done.   It is a process of listing the steps needed to move from the “current state” to a “future desired state” and then looking at the gaps that exist and determine how to fill those gaps. 

Plan the Implementation:  Prepare a “Master to-Do List” (Gantt chart).  This involves a facility-wide plan of what must be done (tasks), who is responsible and when the task is to be completed.   All identified gap areas should be addressed in the plan.    e.g. Migration of information systems, education/training plans for coders, applicable staff and physicians, communication plan for staff and administration to ensure everyone knows their responsibilities, timelines for essential activities, and planning a realistic budget.    

Implementation:   Deliver the training per your plan, implement business and technical modifications.  Modify/amend plan as necessary.

Testing:  After implementation, internal and external testing is necessary.   Begin internal testing involving coders, billers and technical resources.  Assess ICD-10 proficiencies and provide additional training if needed.  Complete external testing with health plans, vendors and other third parties.  Review sample data reports, testing and data accuracy.  Continue training as needs are identified and re-assess.

Everyone is experiencing the same anxiety but take heart!   The training and implementation will soon pass and ICD-10 will be the new way of life for coding and billing.