Over at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the clock is counting down to the October 1, 2015 deadline for ICD-10 compliance. We have had a countdown of our own while doing our part to make sure our clients have the information they need to thoroughly prepare for the changes ahead. With this blog, we want to encourage you to do one thing: ask each member of your staff how confident they are in their ability to apply the new medical coding system competently.
If you receive a lot of blank stares, shoulder shrugs, or uncertain responses, you know that more ICD-10 training is needed in your practice. If most of your staff members are actively discussing the changes and are helping one another with questions and concerns, then you may only need to brush up on the details with a few staff members still struggling to get up to speed. Your job right now is identifying those staff members and determining what type of training they need.
Don’t focus only on your high-level professionals. See how staff members at all levels are handling ICD-10 to ensure that your practice is ready to handle the changes with as few disturbances as possible. There is a long list of potential glitches with the ICD-10 changes. The more time you spend preparing your team now, the less likely you are to experience the most dramatic side effects in the months to come.
What about Resources?
After you ask your staff members how confident they are in their ability to implement ICD-10, ask them if they have the resources they need to do their job come October 1st. You’ve likely done your job as far as transitioning your computer systems and internal processes, but your staff members may feel they need something more to quickly and accurately determine which codes to assign to different internal procedures and medical diagnoses. The time to search out and provide those resources is now rather than after October 1st when stress levels are higher than normal.
If you need more ICD-10 training resources or find that your staff members don’t have the basic knowledge needed to keep your practice moving efficiently come October 1st, there are some professional resources that you can use for training. The World Health Organization is offering a comprehensive ICD-10 Training Tool that you can allow your staff members to work through online individually or as a group. You can also download the guide as a PDF and print it out for distribution throughout your office.
You can also access a list of training resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Most are links to webcasts which you can play for your staff members individually or in groups. You can select from a variety of topics, ranging from an introduction to what ICD-10 is to more advanced coding issues about which some members of your team may have questions.
Ongoing Training Is Essential
You have 8 days left to prepare for the launch of ICD-10, but that doesn’t mean your training efforts will stop on that date. Your staff members will have last-minute questions once they start implementing the new coding system, and you can expect some unexpected gray areas to create confusion. It’s impossible to prepare for every potential problem in advance, so make sure you continue communicating with your staff members. Seek out answers to their questions and provide more in-depth training materials as you identify members of your staff struggling to keep up with these changes.
You will also need to have training ready for new members joining your team after October 1, 2015. Don’t assume that they are up to date with the changes even if they are coming from another medical office. Make some form of basic training compulsory so that you know your staff members are implementing the new code correctly. This will save you a lot of red tape and potentially lost revenue in the future.
This really isn’t about how many hours of training you’ve provided. It’s about the level of confidence that each member of your team feels when it comes to applying ICD-10. They don’t have to know every new code by heart before this deadline. What they must have is enough advanced training to understand how the new system works, what is expected of them for their specific job, and how this change will impact the overall flow within your practice and between your practice and outside agencies.
For more information, contact Advantage Administration or contact our billing and collections team at Agnite Health LLC at 844.318.2150.
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