Countdown to ICD-10-CM

The Countdown to ICD-10 has begun. We have less than 53 months before implementation. Despite what you may have heard, the federal government has locked in an implementation date, and it is firm. The time to begin preparing is now! Where do you begin? Is the process too overwhelming? The AAPC will be here to help you transition every step of the way.

What should be your first step? The first step in ICD-10-CM implementation is to “Organize the Implementation Effort”. This step is critical for any medical practice or health plan in moving toward a successful implementation. The first item in the step is to review the ICD-10 Final Rule. Have you taken the time to review the final rule? We know we are all busy, but ICD-10 will be the most challenging transition we have seen since the inception of coding. HIPAA and NPI implementation will be incidental in comparison to ICD-10. After you have reviewed and digested the final rule, it is time to designate a point person (small practice) or a project team (large group or health plan) to begin putting together information for your practice. The point person/project team will be responsible for addressing key ICD-10 issue, barriers, and outcomes for implementation. This person or team should lead the way for full implementation for your group. The point person/team leaders should prepare briefing materials for the providers and staff to review related to the scope of tasks that must be accomplished prior to ICD-10 Implementation.

It is not yet time to seek specific ICD-10 training for another couple of years, but planning will be critical. Do your research. Make sure you make your providers’ aware of what ICD-10-CM is and how it will impact your medical practice or organization. In order to assure a smooth transition, you must get the providers support. If you use a consultant to help with coding and reimbursement issues, engage the consultant to help with your implementation process. Establish regular scheduled meetings with the providers or project team to report your organizations implementation progress. Identify all areas that will impact the group or practice such as IT systems, electronic medical records, clinical areas, documentation, etc, and share the information with the providers and/or project team. This may take some time to analyze how ICD-10 will impact your organization, but it is a critical step in the implementation process. The last area that needs your attention in step one of implementation is to identify who has the final decision making authority. It could be a physician, manager, administrator, etc.

ICD-10 Tracker ImageUse your Personal Progress Tracker -This personal benchmark tool gives you as an AAPC member the ability to easily enter in your organizations’ personal progress with red, yellow, or green lights that indicate whether you are on schedule or falling behind. This timeline display allows you to graphically measure you organization’s progress and compare it to benchmark deadlines and schedules. By using the implementation guidance from the AAPC and using your personal progress tracker, this will help you stay on track to a smooth implementation.

To access your ICD-10 Preparation Tracker, log in to your account at and look to the top right side of the main page.



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