Less than 140 days are left for one of the biggest changes in US healthcare industry to take place. Yes, ICD-10 is hiding just around the corner, waiting to pounce upon us on October 1. About now, most physicians are finally convinced that they cannot run from ICD-10 anymore, and many medical practices have started taking appropriate steps in preparing for the new coding system. The only problem is that they don’t have enough time left! Credible sources such as Cecil Bohannon, consultant at CTG Health Solutions, have also come out to state that the ICD-10 implementation will not be delayed any further. Statements such as Cecil’s are growing by the week.
Upgrading an existing medical billing system is one of the biggest hassles currently faced by numerous practices in the healthcare community. The software and training are going to cost both money and time, and practices rarely have enough of either as it is! Industry experts have advised small and medium practices to outsource their medical billing to third parties instead of going through the trouble of make the changes themselves. The question which remains now: Can a practice successfully outsource its medical billing before October 1?
Although some physicians have given up on the idea by now, you must know that it’s still achievable. Physicians should first make a list of Medical Billing Services that have experience dealing with specialties similar. The selection process would take a couple of days because practices must be careful while choosing their vendor. The medical billing vendor you choose must have good online reviews and ratings. That’s because if current clients aren’t satisfied with their services, there’s little chance that you will be. It should also have a well trained team of coders and billing specialists who are up-to-date with the recent healthcare and coding regulations. Most of all, the vendor must increase the practice revenue by reducing the number of claim denials.
Once the practice has entered a contract with a suitable medical billing service, the next step is to formulate a plan for ICD-10. The plan must be divided in two phases; pre ICD-10 and post ICD-10. The practice and medical billing service must collectively decide on timelines for each step of the phase. These steps include patient data transfer, documentation training for physician and office staff, coding training for billers and pre-testing of ICD-10.
It is confirmed that medical practices will suffer from a direct revenue loss after ICD-10 for some time, which is why it is necessary for practices to make plans for post ICD-10 as well. The plan for post ICD-10 includes managing the financial budget as well as keeping a follow up plan for the ICD-10 workflow strategy. This way, any loopholes in documentation or billing process that are affecting practice revenue can be identified and improved.
Outsourcing medical billing is the best current alternative for physicians who own small practices and cannot afford in-house billing in such a short period. As mentioned earlier, ICD-10 is set to be implemented this year, so medical practices must starting looking for suitable vendors immediately to meet the deadline.