By Mark Higley, VGM Regulatory Affairs
With the October, 2015 ICD-10 deadline only six short months away, making a transition plan should be on the minds of HME providers. Whether the program moves ahead as planned or is once again delayed, the amount of staff knowledge and organization needed to successfully transition to the new coding system requires thoughtful planning and consideration now. Your first steps require research and fact-finding that will help you form the basis of your transition plan.
- Start developing your company’s transition plan. To start, answer these important questions.
- Who will be the project leader who can act as a source point for information gathering and questions?
- How will the coding system change interrupt workflow? What actions can you take in preparation to avoid those interruptions?
- What common codes does your company use? Can you build a guide for staff that crosswalks those codes?
- Work with your project lead to establish timelines and internal deadlines that include fact-finding, staff communications and involvement and training.
- Call your software vendor to learn what plan and resources they have for ICD-10. This includes payers and billing agencies. Here are some of the questions you’ll need to ask.
- Does your software support ICD-10?
- When will you update my current products for ICD-10?
- When will the ICD-10 coding be available to test?
- How much will you charge for upgrades?
- Will the software run on our current platform, or is a different one needed?
- Will I need new hardware to run the new program?
- Do you offer training services for staff?
- Do you offer support during the transition?
- Call your referral sources to ask if they’re preparing for ICD-10.
Per usual, it will be the responsibility of HME providers to ensure that referral sources understand the changes and what it will mean to them. This will require education and communication to make sure they are knowledgeable of the requirements as it relates to HME. Here are questions to ask.
- Who is the correct point of contact for the increased communication that will need to occur to work through the implementation?
- Can the HME education piece they need be worked into their current plan?
- What materials or hands-on training can you provide them with to help the process?
These are starter questions. During the conversations you might discover a new way of thinking about the process all together. The more you can standardize the referral source educational process, the more streamlined and efficient the overall effort will be. Start by calling a few to see if there are commonalities that you can move forward with for all of your referral sources.
Just as you are preparing for the change, we at VGM intend to provide resources and guides to help you navigate the process. Keep your eye on our weekly Connect emails for more information.