The clock is rapidly ticking away. Is your agency ready for ICD-10? Have you trained all staff – not just those in the office? Do you have a contingency plan in place for cash flow disruptions? Are you ready to take on some extra help to code? You are more than likely not alone. Some agencies have parts of the ICD-10 conversion under control while still figuring out other parts. However, we are here to help and offer some tips to make the transition easier.
Staff: Make sure all of your staff are completely aware of ICD-10. This must include case managers in the field, intake staff, QA, billing, therapists and clerical staff who process paperwork. It is now time to make sure all staff know exactly what is going on and what to expect. You will have the next month to get ready and tie up loose ends!
Software: Review the changes that are going to be made to your software for processing clinical information and billing. The software provider should be allowing staff to dual code OASIS at this point. But the provider should also be providing resources and training materials to help ease the transition. For instance, will your OASIS scrubber be ready as of October 1, 2015 or will it be delayed during the transition? Many agencies rely on OASIS scrubbers to optimize reimbursement and reduce potential deficiencies within documentation. In an ideal world, vendors would make the transition as easy as possible but there are likely to be glitches during the process.
Billing: The reality is that no matter how much you prepare, there are going to be issues with getting claims out and getting them paid. They might be submitted and accepted but will they sit in limbo within FISS DDE? Your billing staff must be trained to use FISS DDE. Although the system is archaic, having the ability to work claims directly can produce valuable results and improve cash flow. Training is available from your intermediary along with manuals and job aids to facilitate staff in understanding codes, fields and menu navigation.
Cash Flow: Since ICD-10 is going to be one of the biggest direct disruptions to the processing of claims over the next couple months, your cash flow will also be impacted. Agencies that are ready to go should see little disruption, but those that are still chasing their tails can expect that delays in payment will occur. Coders and QA staff will have reduced productivity and therefore cause OASIS reviews to decline dramatically. Some estimates are projecting a 50-70% drop in productivity. Can you really afford to continue to operate at 100% with a 50-70% impact on your cash flow? No you can’t – whether you are a home health agency or an ice cream stand – a sudden drop in cash will be devastating. If you have a line of credit, we urge you to make sure it is current and available to help weather the storm. If you don’t have a line of credit, it would be good to speak to your banker now to see if your agency qualifies.
The conversion to ICD-10 is manageable and should be managed – not just dreaded. The conversion poses a real opportunity for your agency to adapt and grow, introduce new procedures and streamline your workflow. You still have time. If you have questions or would like some input, please don’t hesitate to email us.