Are you ready? It's that time again.

By CodingStrategies on September 22nd, 2017

For most people, the end of the summer means the end of vacations and the return to regular schedules. For commuters, it means an increase in drive time because of the additional vehicles on the road driving to and from schools, colleges and universities. For those in healthcare, the end of the summer heralds the beginning of changes for the next year. 

Now through the end of the year revisions and updates will be published for:

  • ICD-10-CM Codes and Guidelines
  • CPT® Codes
  • HCPCS Codes
  • Medicare Physician Fee Schedule
  • Outpatient Prospective Payment System
  • Medicare Quality Payment Program (MACRA/MIPS)

This leaves a very tight timeline for reviewing and implementing any changes that may be required.  Do you have a plan? What steps can you take to help you through this process?

First, make sure you have ordered your ICD-10-CM, CPT® and HCPCS books for 2018. The books will be shipped as soon as the changes have been finalized.  ICD-10-CM books are available now. CPT® books should be available in September and HCPCS books closer to the end of the year.  As soon as the new books arrive, you should review the changes to identify any that will affect your practice.

Second, review the proposed rules to identify any potential changes that may affect your practice. Although the rule may change from the proposed to the final rule, understanding the proposed changes will help you prepare for any possible changes.

Third, sign up for notifications from CMS to alert you as soon as the final rules are released. CMS always publishes a copy of a final rule on their website a few days before it is published in the Federal Register. You can download a copy and begin reviewing as soon as it is released which allows more time for implementing any changes that may be required.

Finally, identify available training opportunities for the following. 

a. Coding updates (ICD-10-CM and CPT/HCPCS)
b. Medicare Physician Fee Schedule program changes
c. Outpatient Prospective Payment System program changes
d. Medicare Quality Payment Program changes

Training can occur through reading articles, attending webinars, and/or in person seminars.  Look for training that is geared toward your specialty to ensure that the topics critical to your operations are sufficiently covered. When you identify possible training opportunities, don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure the information provided will be helpful for your practice.

Now you are ready for the end of the summer and the beginning of one of the busiest times of the year in healthcare.