Hoping for a deadline extension, many physician practices are behind. Instead they should be highly focused on the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets, says one expert.
With so many challenges and changes coming at physician practices, it can be hard to know where to focus attention. Healthcare reform is reshaping the way healthcare is provided and paid for it, and one of the most fundamental changes involves coding.
Physician practices should be highly focused on the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets, says Peggy Stilley, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, COBGC, ACS-OB, director of audit services with the AAPC in Salt Lake City. Stilley also is part of the AAPC's ICD-10 Curriculum Training Team, which assists physician practices in switching from the current set of 14,000 codes to over 69,000 codes.
In August 2012, HHS released a final rule that officially delayed the ICD-10 compliance date until October 1, 2014, but CMS more recently warned that physicians should not count on any more delays. That means now is the time to get in gear for the transition, Stilley says.
"I've seen it all over the board at this point. Some are right on target with where they should be, and we have some practices that have just begun putting their teams together, assessing their policies and procedures to see where the effect of ICD-10 may be for them," Stilley says.