HealthDay News — With the Oct. 10, 2014 implementation date nearing, practices should start preparing for the transition to International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10).

A recent test of professional coders yielded just a 63% accuracy rate when submitting ICD-10 codes, Beth Thomas Hertz reported in Medical Economics. She discussed ways that practices can prepare for the transition.

ICD-10 increases the specificity with which diagnoses are reported and increases the number of outpatient diagnostic codes. Practices that do not document care properly may see a reduction in reimbursement. There is concern about whether payers will be ready, and some experts are recommending practices secure a line of credit in advance.

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A key step to ICD-10 readiness is appointment of a point-person to lead the transition, according to Hertz. Next, it is important to contact software vendors to learn about the plans for upgrades, without assuming that vendors will make their systems ICD-10 compliant.

Staff will need training, with many available options, including vendors, sending an experienced coder to outside training, and other local and online resources.

“The sooner you can start testing the better, because then you can identify any issues and start fixing them or develop contingency plans if it looks like those issues won’t be fixed in time,” Shari Erickson, MPH, vice president of government and regulatory affairs for the American College of Physicians told Medical Economics.

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