CMS Offers Tips for Small Provider Practices to Plan for ICD-10 Transition

Coding Corner

The information provided here applies to Medicare coding. Be sure to check with your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for additional information and clarification on these and other items. You should also contact your local insurance carriers to determine if private insurers follow Medicare's lead on all coding matters.

CMS Offers Tips for Small Provider Practices to Plan for ICD-10 Transition
While the final rule on the proposed ICD-10 deadline change has yet to be published, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reminds physicians that it is important to continue to plan for the transition to ICD-10. According to CMS, adequate planning and preparation will ensure a smooth transition for a physician’s practice. To this end, CMS has recommended the following checklist to help keep you on track with your transition:

Educate staff and leadership about ICD-10

  • Appoint an ICD-10 coordination manager and delegate a steering committee to manage the transition
  • Train staff on changes in documentation requirements from health plans and how this will affect work flow

Perform an impact assessment

  • Examine existing uses of ICD-9 codes in order determine aspects of work flow and business practices that ICD-10 will potentially change. Be sure to evaluate planned and ongoing projects as well
  • Create a list of staff members who need ICD-10 resources and training, such as billing and coding staff, clinicians, management, and IT staff

Plan a realistic and comprehensive budget

  • Estimate a budget that includes costs such as software, hardware, staff training, and any initial change in patient volume

Coordinate with external partners

  • Contact system vendors, clearinghouses, and billing services to assess their readiness and evaluate current contracts
  • Ask your vendors how they will support you in the transition to ICD-10 and request a timeline and cost estimate
  • Analyze existing health plan trading partner agreements

Get ready for testing

  • Request a testing plan to schedule from your vendor
  • Conduct internal testing within your clinical practice as well external testing with payers and other external business partners after you have completed the planning stages.

Additional information on transferring to ICD-10 coding is available at

Stay True to Why You Pursued Medicine.