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How to Prep Office Staff to Transition to ICD-10 for Medical Billing

As a medical billing professional, you will need to prepare your staff for the transition to ICD-10 that is coming. After the back end is ready to roll for ICD-10 (things like software), then you can begin to prepare yourself and your colleagues for the daily details of how the new coding platform will change the way you all work. Consider the following examples of changes you’ll see:

  • ICD-10 certification will require a more thorough understanding of human anatomy and physiology. If you already struggle with assignment of ICD-9 codes, you’ll want to brush up on what you know about the body.

  • With regard to coding and documentation purposes, prepare to be more specific in your coding. This increased specificity means that you’ll have to gather more information when you’re conducting a physician query, and you must do so without asking leading questions.

    Electronic medical and health records (which are also being mandated, slowly but surely) will make ICD-10 transition easier. They can be programmed to require greater specificity when documenting a patient record.

Every member of the office staff should be updated as the implementation progresses and provided access to necessary training. Staff members who need training include physicians, nurses, coders, billers, office managers, and any clerical staff who will be working with the updated or new software system. Expect the coder-in-chief of your office to coordinate the system upgrades and implementation to allow the workflow to continue without interruption or excess disruption.

Don’t try to muddle through alone. Most software manufacturers offer training to assist coders with the transition to ICD-10. In addition, most of the clearinghouses, and professional organizations like the AAPC and AHIMA, offer training. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also offers online training, webinars, conferences held in various parts of the country, and audio conferences both live and via CDs that you can purchase for study.

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