David Freedman, DPM is vice president of Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic (MD). The practice, which has grown from 12 to 22 locations in the last several years, employs 32 physicians and 120 staff to care for nearly 400 patients each day. As a Certified Professional Coder and American Podiatric Medical Association Coding Committee member and ICD-10 team manager, he has spoken extensively on preparing for the transition to ICD-10.
Where is FASMA with Meaningful Use? Is it working on any other healthcare IT implementations?
We participated in Stage 1 from 2011 to 2014, and are starting Stage 2 this year. With regard to other IT projects, we are adding more security, specifically encryption, to all computers and servers in 2015. The plan is to start with our servers and test some desktops. If the conversion goes smoothly, we’ll put encryption on all our computers by the end of February.
How long has FASMA been preparing for ICD-10?
We have been preparing for ICD-10-CM dating back to January 2014. We hold monthly webinars, teaching ICD-10-CM using the website I created, www.ICDTENhelp.com. This site was developed to help in understanding the new conversion, and to get ready for our planned go-live date of October 1, 2015. It converts ICD-9-CM codes to specific ICD-10-CM coding. We have created a library of webinars that any of the billing staff, doctors, medical assistants, or staff that touches ICD-9 coding now can view on their own, besides participating in the live events.
Did FASMA purchase any new IT (or upgrade) to help with the ICD-10 conversion? If so, what type of solutions, and why?
As the developer of ICDTENhelp.com, I provided this tool to FASMA to help in its conversion. Ultimately, we have to go through the typical coding that our practice uses and remove from the database any coding that is incomplete or lacks laterality. Our EHR is GE Centricity CPS 12. This software system is ONC certified 2014. We upgraded in 2014 to get ready for the new diagnosis system, in addition to meeting the various components for other government reporting.
Have any other IT projects had to take a back seat to your prep for ICD-10?
We currently are working to achieve both MU and ICD-10 compliance simultaneously throughout 2015. As for other projects, we are preparing to look into tablet-based patient entry versus the traditional method of completing paperwork with paper and pen.
Can you offer other physicians advice or best practices for converting to ICD-10?
It is critical that your software is ready for the switch to ICD-10-CM. Additionally, you need a resource to convert from the current ICD-9-CM, and we recommend ICDTENhelp.com. It is an excellent product that allows simplest conversion to new coding. It takes out the inaccuracies of mapping, adds the necessary dummy characters and extension codes so you do not have to add them yourself. Also, have a line of credit ready just in case there are cash flow issues with the new coding system affecting insurance reimbursement. Monitor productivity now so you can compare data to your productivity post implementation. You want to make sure to follow the processes closely after October 1 passes so this change does not affect your cash flow.