As of April 15th, the legislation permanently fixing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) that has plagued Medicare reimbursements for over a decade was passed. In a landmark move, congress came together to agree on a lasting long term solution that avoids the 21% pay cut Medicare providers were facing. This bill was not another “kick the can down the road” bill like we saw last year in April, and it did NOT push back the ICD10 deadline further.
Work on ICD10 began in 1983, with the proposal to replace ICD9 with ICD10 codes put forth on August of 2008. We have had 2 delays already from October 2013 to October of 2014 and then again last April during the SGR “kick the can” ruling, it was pushed again to this coming October, less than 5 months from now. While the only things certain in life are death and taxes, we all can agree that pretending ICD10 codes will not be required any further will put your practice’s livelihood at serious risk.
If you have Lytec 2014 or 2015 (or Medisoft 19 or 20), the good news is that your systems are currently capable of the new codes set, and Mckesson has gone to great lengths to make the transition as easy as possible for you. Do not, however, believe that simply owning the newest versions of your practice management software will magically make you ready.
If you have an older version of Lytec or Medisoft you need to upgrade immediately (pause reading this, pick up the phone and call us right now to get the ball rolling). Since the switch is a “hard and fast” switch based on the date of service, you will have a transitional period where you may have to be sending BOTH ICD9 and ICD10 codes. Lytec allows you to specify which insurance companies take which kind of codes, and which dates of service represent the switchover date. You will then be able to start coding in ICD10 TODAY and when the deadline happens, you will already be ready.
If you already have the proper software in place, you should be coding in ICD10 NOW. The ICD10 tools in Lytec will make it easy to automatically add ICD10 codes to your system based on the ICD9 codes you already use. You should then start picking out your most common codes and start using those on claims. If you only have a few ICD10 codes that you will be using, you can probably get away with just changing those on your paper superbill, however since you may end up with up to 7 times as many ICD10 codes as the ICD9 equivalents. If you find yourself in this boat, you will want to start looking into Lytec Mobile. If you are using an EHR, the time to start changing your diagnosis codes in your EHR is now.
I know 4 months sounds like a long time but it really isn’t when you consider how many offices tend to wait until the last minute. As with all big changes we get inundated with requests for upgrades the closer we get to a deadline and just after it goes live when practices stop getting paid. All of a sudden it becomes urgent to get the upgrades done. Don’t be one of those offices, call us today so you’re not frantically trying to get this done at the last minute. Our staff is ready to get you on the schedule ASAP.
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