Oct. 1, 2015, might actually be the day ICD-10 takes effect.
The International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Edition, (ICD-10) was completed in 1992, and the United States Congress has delayed its implementation several times. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) seems to be taking steps that indicate the current deadline of Oct. 1, 2015, will be enforced.1
Specifically, the GAO has “developed educational materials,” “conducted outreach,” “modified its Medicare systems and policies,” and “conducted internal testing.”1 Taken together, these activities signal that all agencies and care providers covered under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) will transition to ICD-10 on Oct. 1.
How will all of this impact chiropractic practices?
Offices that accept Medicare, Medicaid, or any other type of insurance will need to bill using the codes in ICD-10. This means the vast majority of chiropractic practices will need to change all of the codes used in billing insurance companies.
The majority of healthcare providers, including DCs, have known that this transition was on the horizon for a number of years. Many have already implemented systems designed to handle the switch and simply need to begin reviewing the changes in order to be prepared. Some, however, have taken no steps to prepare, and are now behind the curve.
Time to prepare
Some experts believe it takes one full year to prepare and test in order to be ready for the switch.2 If you have not already begun the process, the next nine to 10 months will likely be hectic.
There are several resources available, including the following:
- The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) has released a toolkit to specifically help chiropractors prepare. Access this resource online at com/ICD-10.
- The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) has published several articles, updates, and other resources online at gov/ICD10.
- The GAO has published multiple papers and resources, all of which can be found on its website, gov.
One point the GAO has been criticized for is that recent testing—in which practitioners were able to test their systems using the ICD-10—was incomplete. Industry experts suggest that may be indicative of future problems.3 It is only reasonable to expect the transition will include bumps and obstacles, simply because it is such a massive undertaking.
The best thing for small practitioners to do is to prepare as much as possible. Staff members and DCs should be doing as much testing as they can, and if an electronic health records (EHR) system is in place, be sure to review any changes necessary to transition and consult with the support team as needed.
1 GAO-15-255 International Classification of Diseases. “CMS’s Efforts to Prepare for the New Version of the Disease and Procedure Codes.” U.S. Government Accountability Office. http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668128.pdf. Published January 2015. Accessed March 2015.
2 Oppelt J. “Experts offer their advice: Allow one year for ICD-10 end-to-end testing.” ICD10monitor.com. http://www.icd10monitor.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=794:experts-offer-their-advice-allow-one-year-for-icd-10-end-to-end-testing&catid=48:icd10-enews&Itemid=106. Accessed March 2015.
3 Conn J. “GAO report boosts confidence about CMS’ ICD-10 preparations.” ModernHealthcare.com. http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20150206/NEWS/302069925. Published February 2015. Accessed March 2015.