Everyone is so focused with ICD-10, and rightfully so, that some critical areas may be ignored, and this can hurt your practice. Here are some important areas to consider in addition to the new code set:
Did you remember that TriCare and TriWest insurance deductibles started over on Oct. 1? This means that if you have TriCare patients who use the plan as a primary insurance, they will need to pay their deductibles prior to the plan paying anything toward their visits. For TriWest patients who typically are secondary to Medicare, these patients will most likely be billed for the 20 percent of their visit that Medicare does not pay. So keep this in mind when patients call and don't understand this about their deductibles.
This is also the first month of Q4: It's time to take a look at your 2015 goals and see if you are close to meeting those. You still have time to tweak your processes and systems to assist your practice in obtaining those goals. It's a good idea to do an audit on how many patient copays, coinsurance, and deductibles are being collected at the time of service. This will assist you in determining your intake goals for the year, and if you are going to meet them or not. It's also a great time to review your staff schedules to make sure they are maximizing their time. If there is some downtime in the schedule, it's a great time for staff to do some marketing for the practice.
Check the pulse of your staff. Front office, back office, as well as clinical staff members. This is a very stressful time for everyone and there is a tremendous amount of pressure to perform. This can wear staff down; with flu and cold season just around the corner, you do not need them wearing out.
Keep in mind that your staff has access to several resources that can assist them with this transition to ICD-10. They certainly can call on your billing department or outsourcing company. They should be ready to answer any questions you may have. There is also a great website, ICD-10 Search, we've been using to help physicians select the correct terminology to search for those elusive ICD-10 codes.
There is hope that payers are also making an attempt to do their part and should be available for advisement, as well. Some representatives will be better than others, so if you are not satisfied with a response, just call back and ask for someone who is well-versed in ICD-10. I ran across this article while looking for payer responsibilities during this transition and it gave me a glimmer of hope.
Overall, just keep in mind that although ICD-10 could be causing issues or delays in your practice, do not forget the other important areas that keep your practice moving.