Not just an IT project: How physician practices can prepare for ICD-10 on the cheap

Think the transition to ICD-10 is just learning a bunch (a real big bunch) of new codes? Think again. A session held Monday during MGMA-ACMPE’s annual conference in San Antonio laid out the impact of ICD-10 on physician practices and how they can prepare for it on the cheap.

“I would argue (ICD-10 is) probably the biggest change in healthcare since Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law in the 60s,” said Robert Tennant, senior policy adviser in MGMA’s government affairs department. “It’s going to impact every system, almost every employee within your practice – maybe not the custodial staff, but just about everybody else.”

The code set itself is not the problem. It’s the massiveness of the code set’s impact.

“This is not just an IT project,” he said. “This is going to permeate every nook and cranny of the practice.”

What should practices do right now? If you can avoid it, don’t spend any money right now, Tennant said, because there are things practices can do, at least for a short period of time, to move forward with the transition, without spending big bucks.

How do practices prepare for ICD-10 without spending money? Some of Tennant’s suggestions are: