Have you done these 10 things to prepare for ICD-10?

As the October 1, 2015 transition deadline approaches, take a moment to rate your preparation progress in the 10 categories below. David Letterman may have retired but the Top 10 lives on. Make this Top 10 your number one priority.

Use this scale to rate your completeness for each item.

Completely Finished………………………….100%

Almost Finished………………………………….75%

About Half Way Done………………………….50%

Just Getting Started…………………………….25%

Have Not Started………………………………….0%

  1. Fully understand the impact of ICD-10 on your documentation and coding requirements.
  • Identify potential new elements required to code diagnoses for common conditions in ICD-10
  • ICD-10 codes include laterality, anatomic specificity, episode of care, severity and other concepts that provide greater specificity than ICD-9
  • Codes are assigned based on the specific documentation in the patient’s record so ensure you are capturing all clinically relevant details
  1. Identify everything in your practice and office that includes a diagnosis code and update it.
  • Review all of your lab orders, cheat sheets, other requisitions, policies and procedures, authorization forms and update them with the appropriate ICD-10 codes
  • Essentially, you want to look at all forms, including superbills (if used) currently utilized by your practice and anything coming into or out of your office
  • You may need to reach out to external vendors and partners to make updates
  1. Contact your vendors to make sure they are ready for ICD-10.
  • Collect answers to key vendor questions:
    • Will my current hardware continue to work?
    • How long will tech support for my existing systems continue?
    • Are upgrades necessary and if so, who pays for them?
    • By WHEN were you/will you be ready for testing?
    • By WHEN were you/will you be ready for ICD-10?
  • Your vendors may include medical billing service and software vendors, clearinghouses, lab and imaging partners, and anyone else with whom you share diagnosis code information
  • PracticeMax has been hard at work preparing for ICD-10 by updating systems, training staff, testing with payers and providing education to our clients. 
  1. Nominate ICD-10 champions in your practice.
  • Identify a champion in each department or group to lead readiness efforts and provide centralized access to data and information


  1. Secure a cash flow savings or line of credit for anticipated temporary drop in revenue.
  • Prepare for a 30-50% temporary delay in revenue for at least three months
  • It is suggested that practices have a minimum of the equivalent of 30 days of operating capital on hand
  • Budget for both monetary and productivity losses
  1. Train, educate, monitor and train.
  • Complete and implement a training plan for your staff including physicians, providers, and front and back office employees
  • At PracticeMax we follow the guidance of the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC);
    • For certified coders to be prepared and cognizant for the ICD-10 transition we expect and recommend:
      • AAPC Basic ICD-10 Training (36 hrs) plus AAPC Refresher Coding Training (4 hrs) for a total of 40 hours training. Continue reading https://practicemax.com/
  1. Crosswalk your top twenty to fifty codes.
  • Give your providers a sampling of the top relevant codes for your practice and have them crosswalk from ICD-9 to ICD-10
  • Conduct chart reviews and give providers examples that engage them in the ICD-10 process
  1. Ask payers key questions and document their responses.
  • Compile a list of your payers and the communications you have received from them regarding ICD-10
  • PracticeMax has been vetting and testing payer readiness over the past several months to minimize disruption and negative impact
  • We won’t really know how payers will respond until after 10/1/15
  1. Practice on your EHR.
  • Update ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 and become familiar with this process
  • Proactively update codes prior to patient appointments to help streamline the process
  1. Breathe!