Ugh! Remember when October 1, 2014 seemed so far off into the future? The reality is, the ICD-10 official deadline is actually now looming. You can’t afford to screw up – literally – because your bottom line is at stake.
Don’t believe it? ICD-10 is transforming how you do business, whether you’re a sole practitioner or a major hospital. It’s an infection that will certainly spread from your clinical procedures to across-the-board operations and even your organizational structure, all of which affect your financial well-being.
ICD-10 will directly affect your revenue.
There has been a great deal of speculation and justifiable concern about just how badly ICD-10 may diminish your reimbursements, the financial lifeblood of every medical practice. Certain specialties or other factors could significantly increase your risk. To make matters worse, medical practices and hospitals have notoriously low collections rates. You’ll need to do something about that, because it’s something you can control.
Receivables are a necessity of business life. If you don’t actually receive what’s owed you -- in a timely manner -- you’re working for free. Volunteerism is a wonderful thing, but you should make a deliberate decision to do that. If you’re losing income, you probably can’t even afford the time to volunteer.
And here’s another reminder: dissatisfied patients go elsewhere. If implementing ICD-10 causes glitches that negatively affect patients, you could lose even more revenue.
ICD-10 might affect your cash flow.
What’s your average billing cycle time now? It could get worse.
Mistakes in coding or data entry can result in delayed or incorrect billing. That’s not a new problem, but the learning curve for the huge new coding system is sure to cause additional mistakes. That could be compounded in the short term, because your staff might have to manually double-check coding and billing to ensure it’s accurate according to the new standards.
ICD-10 could raise your operations costs.
ICD-10 is transforming the way you code and bill procedures but it’s also brought widespread changes and new standards for data transmission. You’re going to need new technology and modified office procedures, especially for details that affect the more stringent patient confidentiality regulations.
New hardware and software means initial costs and ongoing expenses for upgrades. You’re going to need more highly skilled – and newly-skilled – billing staff. And maybe more of them. It’s not just a matter of learning new code numbers for the same old stuff, ICD-10 is vastly more complex, a whole new learning opportunity. And everyone needs training, from medical professionals that perform clinical procedures to billing and other accounting staff to financial managers.
Hiring is expensive. So is training. ICD-10 can turn into a distraction that affects your personal bottom line, too. That’s because your goal as a medical professional is to work with patients, not paperwork.
The financial threats can add up. And it all takes on a greater sense of urgency as the October 1st deadline nears.
There’s a cure – survival of the fittest.
ICD-10 isn’t just affecting you; it’s affecting your competition. That could be a boost or a further step toward decline, depending on how – and how quickly – you and they adapt to the new-way-of-doing-things.
It’s time to get busy. If you haven’t already done so, assessing your situation in detail is essential -- potential impact of ICD-10 on your practice and what you need to do now to ameliorate that. Otherwise a misdiagnosis could leave your finances on a ventilator instead of breathing freely. You’d never recommend such risky behavior to a patient.
It’s time to wipe away your tears over implementation of ICD-10. Tears cause blurred vision, and you need to be as sharp as a scalpel to protect your bottom line from potential ravages. In truth, you already know that these sweeping changes are a serious business. They are reshaping the way you deal with patients, the way you manage your practice or hospital and your ability to make a profit.
Ultimately, ICD-10 does give you an option to improve your bottom line. Right now, many medical practices and hospitals suffer from lack of information to effectively manage operations. You can harness the massive influx of data ICD-10 will generate, to not only streamline processes but make smarter, more strategic business decisions.
Profit’s not a dirty word. After all, if you go out of business, how will that affect your patients?