Breaking the Codes

physical therapy billing_ICD-10Breaking the Codes

For physical therapists, ICD-10 coding changes are fast approaching

How should Shannon prepare for the switch to ICD-10 reporting codes?

“I think you’ll find that the exercises will really make a difference for you,” Shannon told her last patient of the day. “But only if you do your part. You come in a couple of times a week, but you need to do these exercises every day.”

Her warm smile took any sting out of the words, but she shook her head as she carried the patient’s file to the office.

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“You know, Theresa, my work would be a lot easier if everyone followed through on their programs,” she said. “It’s human nature, though — the temporary pain of doing the exercises is much stronger than the long-term pain of lessened mobility, even though that’s much worse. than having to do the exercises.”

Theresa agreed. “Procrastination is normal. And speaking of procrastination…”

“Don’t give me that look! I know we have to switch to the new ICD codes, but the deadline is not till October 1, 2014. We have time.”

“Let’s see… eight months. So how long have you been thinking about redecorating the practice?”

“Fair point,” Shannon laughed. “It’s probably been close to a year. But that’s not just a little update. I have to make a lot of decisions, come up with the funds, get input from a bunch of people –”

“I have a feeling this reporting change is going to be like that, too,” said Theresa. “I’m not sure exactly what’s involved, but the other office managers have been talking about it and it sounds major.”

“How many different codes do we use?” Shannon asked. “I noticed that the new codes include laterality, but we’re performing a limited number of procedures, right?”

“I get what you’re saying, but one thing I know is that the new codes have seven digits instead of five. That’s a change that will affect everything — scheduling as well as billing. I don’t know if the software we’re using right now can handle it.”

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Shannon frowned. “I see what you mean. This change might have more implications than I’ve been considering. Okay, we’d better carve out some time to go over the regulations and figure out what needs to be done.”

Theresa pulled a calendar over to her. “That’s part of the problem. You don’t really have any time — our new push for profitability is a great thing for the practice, but it hasn’t freed up any hours in your schedule. Nor in mine.”

The two women stood and looked at one another for a moment.

“I guess it’s a good thing that we have till October,” Shannon said ruefully. “It may take us a while just to get a handle on how the reporting change will affect us.”

How should Shannon prepare for the switch to ICD-10 reporting codes?

Want more information on ICD-10? Watch our ICD-10 webinar recording!

11 replies
  1. funnyguydavid
    funnyguydavid says:

    My question is, can practitioners start using the new ICD-10 codes before October 1? If so, it would make it easier to transition…

  2. Reuven Lirov
    Reuven Lirov says:

    Shannon is suffering from a minimizing complex. This change is being hailed as a major one and she wants to hope it is just being hyped up. Getting ready for a major change like this requires delegating to resources and understanding the changes yourself. That means time at seminars/webinars and speaking with people you respect and trust about what this change will mean. Also, who is to say you will always deal with the same types of patients? What if new treatments are released that make you want to market to a new type of patient? Patching the areas you use the most only sets you up for failure everywhere else.

  3. Robin Kortman
    Robin Kortman says:

    Practice owners need to be proactive not reactive to knowing how ICD-10 will affect his or her practice. There is online information available to assist provider with the new coding changes.

  4. Yuval Lirov
    Yuval Lirov says:

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  5. Lisette Acevedo
    Lisette Acevedo says:

    How can you avoid getting overwhelmed with the ICD-10 oncoming like Shannon has? Star getting ready NOW! Work with experts to ease the transition from ICD-9.

  6. Charles Pritchard
    Charles Pritchard says:

    Shannon still has time to prepare for ICD-10. Just as she tells her patients they have a part to do in making sure they complete their exercises, Shannon needs to do her part in preparing for ICD-10. She can start by checking with her billing solution to see how they are preparing for ICD-10 and when they will be putting out information to the providers. There is also information online to review and assist providers with making the transition into ICD-10.

  7. Scott
    Scott says:

    No. They are not accepted before 10/01/2014 and the old codes are not accepted past 09/30/2014. It is a hard cutover. AND CMS has planned no end-to-end testing. Get ready for a disaster.

  8. Imran Pathan
    Imran Pathan says:

    Shannon should starting working on ICD-10 instead of waiting for October to see what changes will be there, seminars are being held regarding the ICD-10, Shannon can attend the seminars and learn about ICD-10.

  9. Ashfaq Dafedar
    Ashfaq Dafedar says:

    Shannon might be completely ready for the ICD-10 switch, the possibilities of
    delay in payments are still too high as glitches may happen at the payer’s end
    or clearing house too, you won’t get paid till the glitch is resolved. Payments
    are not entirely in the practice’s control. So set up a solid financial plan
    upfront, budgeting for potential cash flow.

  10. Ravi Mahajan
    Ravi Mahajan says:

    Shannon should starting to prepare for the ICD-10 switch as she has time till October, 2014 so she may complete her exercise by attending some webinars conducted by Medicare as well as she may take the help of the experts to ease the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

  11. Astrid Bidanec
    Astrid Bidanec says:

    You got that right, Robin! I also highly recommend that providers take advantage of free ICD-10 webinars. There is one coming up Jan. 22 at 3:30 p.m. ET, hosted by bestPT.

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