As medical practices nationwide continue their preparations for the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion in October 2015, many seem concerned about how the coming changes will affect their medical billing services. While the American Medical Association now supports the changes and is touting them as good, and the idea of improving the coding for better records keeping and diagnosis identification seems to be beneficial, many practices are still quite concerned as the date for the official conversion draws near.
What You Can Do: Hire a Healthcare Consultant
One way to find out if your ENT medical billing services are prepared for the coming changes is to hire a healthcare consultant. It is important to hire a consultant that specializes in the field of otolaryngology so you can make sure that all of your coding changes and current practices are compliant with regulations. Most consultants will perform a healthcare audit to determine the state of your current medical billing services and see where your bill department is with their training and education. The software program that you use and any outsourced services that you use will also be audited for compliance.
What this does is to give you a real time picture of where your practice or clinic is at the moment, how prepared your medical billing services team is for the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion and what help, if any, you will need to make sure you get where you need to be by the October deadline. Primary concerns include having the ability to expand the codes for ICD-10 up to seven alpha numeric characters in length, as many older software programs do not have that capability. The additional characters in the new coding system allow for the identification of the body system, root operation, body part, medical approach and any devices involved in the procedure. All this can be overwhelming to any billing department.
Why the ICD-9 to ICD-10 Conversion is Happening
It is important to understand why all of these changes are happening to medical billing services. There are many in the medical field who believe that the ICD-9 code sets are too outdated and are no longer able to properly allow for the reporting and coding of the treatments and diagnosis that are being done in the medical field today. The change in the United States from ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion has been a long time coming.
The World Health Organization (WHO) first endorsed the ICD-10 back in 1990. Since then many other countries have adopted versions of it for their medical billing services. The more complex body systems have run out of codes with the ICD-9 system, making it difficult to properly apply the right code within specialties, such as otolaryngology. ICD-10 is much more specific, allows room for the expansion of code as more diseases are identified and treatments are discovered. This will help to more quickly spot trends in diagnoses, epidemic outbreaks, public health needs and other events.
What You Need to Do Right Now
If your ENT practice has not started preparing for the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion, it is important that you do so immediately. Hiring a professional healthcare consultant to perform a healthcare audit on your medical billing services is a great way to get a jump on the changes. Knowing where you stand right now and what you need to do to become compliant is a big step toward becoming prepared for the changes. Once you identify the areas that you will need to work on, a good healthcare consultant can offer you and your staff all of the training, education and support you will need to make the transition.
Your healthcare consultant will go over all of your reporting, electronic health records or electronic medical records systems, check over any public health reporting that you do, as well as any contracts or other parts of your medical billing services that will need to be upgraded when the ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion occurs. They can help you work with your current practice system provider to find out if the current system you are using will be able to accommodate the format changes for the expanded ICD-10 codes or if you will need to make an upgrade.
MD Pro Solutions: A Quality Healthcare Consultant for ENT
At MD Pro Solutions, we specialize in working with clients who serve patients in the otolaryngology field. Our team of medical billing services experts, trainers and consultants have many years of experience and knowledge about the Ear Nose and Throat specialty, which gives us an advantage over other healthcare consultants who take a more broad approach. We can help identify your specific needs through a comprehensive healthcare audit of your billing and coding services to ensure that you are working effectively and efficiently to maximize your revenues and provide proper billing to your patients.
For more information about MD Pro Solutions or to make an appointment for a consultation, give us a call at 508-946-1665. We will apply our 45 years of experience in working with the medical administration and billing industry for ENT practices and clinics through the use of revenue generation applications and proprietary accounts receivable protocols. Contact us today to find out if your practice is ready for the coming ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion.