The transition for using ICD-10 for physical therapy coding takes time and effort in preparation and planning. A medical practice should start working now towards compliance when it will be implemented in the coming months.
Here are some suggested steps in preparing for this transition:
- Review current work procedures and systems that are using ICD-9 codes. This does not only involved physical therapy coding but also with physical therapy documentation, patient encounter forms, and even quality reporting procedures. When this transition is complete, all fields with ICD-9 codes will now be using ICD-10 codes.
- Check with the vendor of the practice management or any other related software currently being used. Check if they can easily update the system to Version 5010 that already has the ICD-10 physical therapy coding.
- Go over the implementation plans for the new ICD-10 physical therapy coding with billing services, clearinghouses and payers for a smooth transition. Be proactive and initiate contact with companies relevant to your clinic. Ask if they are also making plans to make transition easy and pain free.
- Discuss contracts with payers and how these are going to be affected with the latest ICD-10 physical therapy coding. There might be a need to modify contract terms, reimbursements and payment schedules.
- The adaptation of the new ICD-10 physical therapy coding could also bring changes to the current workflow and standard processes. It could mean changes with documentation and reporting processes.
- Staff training might also be required especially for those who does the physical therapy coding. So as not to overwhelm the person in charge with the change, it is best to complete the training in a period of six months before the actual implementation.
- It is also recommended to budget for the time and monetary costs of implementing the new ICD-10 physical therapy coding. This will include software updates, staff training, reprinting for superbills and other printed forms and any other related expenses. It is a very good thing to do since it will allow to adjustments in the budget like reallocating funds to pay for these expenses.
- To ensure smooth transition with clearinghouses and payers, do some test transactions using the ICD-10 physical therapy coding. Doing a dry run will help prevent any problems on the actual day of implementation that could lead to documentation and costly billing mistakes.
The medical industry was given appropriate time and notice to prepare for the transition so there is no reason why a clinic or medical facility should not be compliant.