With the ICD-10 changeover just about a year away, some practices are preparing to start dual coding their encounters.
In other words, they’ll code each encounter in ICD-9 and ICD-10. A contrast to double coding, in which forms are coded in ICD-9 at the time of the encounter and later translated into ICD-10.
Obviously, there are labor and IT costs involved with dual coding. For example, your software must be set up to support ICD-10 codes, and coding times will be longer.
Still, many experts feel the benefits outweigh the costs:
- Risk mitigation. By starting early, you run a lower risk of serious issues cropping up during the transition.
- Training evaluation. Through observation, you’ll gain a sense of how effective your training has been and where to focus your efforts.
- Analysis. You’ll have a baseline to gauge your efforts and data that shows where more preparation is needed. Comprehensive data should help you demonstrate the financial consequences of incomplete documentation to physicians reluctant to change.
- Familiarity. Staff and clinicians will learn the new codes and documentation procedures in a low-pressure environment and be comfortable with them before next year’s transition. This should lead to higher productivity (and lower stress levels) during the changeover.
- Testing. A dual-coding program will allow you to conduct end-to-end claims validation, identify payment issues and test the accuracy of your reimbursement projections.
These benefits make a strong case for dual coding, but the most powerful impetus is simple: revenue neutrality. Providers that anticipate potential revenue losses from conversion will be able to understand and plan in advance to protect the revenue fluctuations throughout the the entire system conversion process. Healthcare organizations that avoid a dip in revenue due to the ICD-10 transition by preparing and training in advance will be well positioned for fourth-quarter 2014 and beyond.
Providers should take concerted efforts such as:
- Manage financial models in order to get a clear picture of revenue impact by providers and fluctuations that will arise in the change to ICD-10
- Identify and consolidate rainy-day budgets as potential alternates for reimbursement delays
- Ensure that all payers especially high-volume clients are aware of coding claim changes
- Scrutinize contracts and double check protective language that could have an impact on bottom line revenue
- Strategize the best and least time-consuming course of action that will decrease coding errors from dual coding and claim backlog
- Oversee claim denials and rejection before and after ICD-10 conversion to maintain upkeep of existing of practice cash flow
Be sure that your practice is equipped to handle the switch and incorporate into existing and highly capable billing software to lessen the hassles your providers have to undergo.
Last Updated on November 13, 2020