Industry Behavior Insight Into the Challenge of ICD-10

By: Dr. James Winnickwinnick, Stockton, CA

My practice, like many others, has taken a “wait and see” approach to preparing for the ICD-10 transition. Optometrists, in general, are often slow to make major changes in their practices unless significant impacts to our income are recognized. This goes in both directions: dollars out and dollars in.

Most doctors carry a number in their heads that’s in the tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade or convert to a practice management system (PMS) and electronic health record (EHR) that will make their practice ICD-10 compliant. That’s a hard pill to swallow. So, we avoid this major expense for as long as possible. We continue with “business as usual” for as long as we can.

Unfortunately, because the ICD-10 changes will affect every aspect of our office flow, we can’t procrastinate any longer. Come October 1, 2015, if we don’t have a solution in place and we are not billing ICD-10 codes, we will not be able to collect reimbursements from third party payers. Everyone needs a plan and needs to put it into place now! Our practice chose to work with Eyefinity as our ICD-10 compliant solution because their cloud-based system dramatically reduces our costs of implementation. And, the auto-coding capabilities of the system will not only make it easy for us to use ICD-10 codes, but also increase our efficiencies and bottom line.

EHR_blog_footer

Counting Down to ICD-10 – Do You Have a Plan?

By: Dr. James Winnickwinnick, Stockton, CA

As a private practicing optometrist, it seems like there are more and more pressures being applied on how we run our practices. One of the biggest looming pressures has been the implementation of ICD-10 codes. We’ve heard about this massive change in how we will have to bill and code our patient visits for several years. We’ve also heard all of the horror stories of how much more complex this system will be, as compared to the ICD-9 coding system that we’ve become accustomed to.

Our practices received a little breathing room last year, when the mandatory implementation of ICD-10 codes was delayed. But, despite the continued turbulence in Washington D.C. around health care administration, the senate passed H.R.2 April 14 without an amendment to postpone the ICD-10 cutover date. So, it looks like October 1, 2015, is a hard deadline for providers to start using ICD-10 codes. That gives us just under six months left to implement a solution for billing ICD-10 codes in our practice. Do you have a plan?

All Eyefinity products either are or will soon be ready for the ICD-10 transition. Go to the Eyefinity ICD-10 Resource Center to determine if you need to upgrade your on-premises software, or, if you’re already using an Eyefinity cloud product, when your software will automatically update with ICD-10 changes. Not on the cloud, but want to be? Eyefinity has a plan for that, too!

Getting Ready for ICD-10 with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER

checkmarkThe entire medical industry is aflutter with ICD-10 news, tips, dates, codes, documents, and even a funny comment or two about some of the new codes (W56.22xA – Struck by orca, initial encounter?!). But really, the information that you need most is answers to these two questions:

  • What are the exact things that I need to do to prepare for the October 1, 2015, cutover date?
  • What are the exact things that I need to do in order to bill using the new ICD-10 codes?

If you are using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER and plan to upgrade to version 12.0 so that you can bill ICD-10 codes, we have created a short checklist that will help guide you through the ICD-10 transition. It boils down to this:

Before you upgrade to version 12.0:

  1. Finalize all of your open exams in ExamWRITER.

After you upgrade to version 12.0:

  1. Ensure that you have set up your personal ExamWRITER preferences.
  2. Update any custom templates and clinical decision support templates that you created in ExamWRITER that contain ICD-9 codes.
  3. Ensure that your office location address is complete (i.e., mailing address and nine-digit ZIP code) in OfficeMate Administration.
  4. Determine when you want to begin submitting ICD-10 codes, if it’s not going to be on October 1, 2015.

Before the October 1, 2015, Cutover Deadline:

  1. Record all of your fee slips that are on hold in OfficeMate.
  2. Process all of your open insurance claims in OfficeMate.

After the October 1, 2015, Cutover Deadline:

  1. Document exams in ExamWRITER as you have always done, selecting eye lateralities and then diagnoses. Yes – it’s that easy!
  2. There is no step 2! ExamWRITER will automatically code your exams, based on your exam selections, and transfer the codes to OfficeMate fee slips.

Transitioning to using ICD-10 codes may sound daunting, but if you’re using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER 12.0, you are ready!

End of Support for Windows Server 2003 Raises HIPAA Concerns

Remember when Microsoft finally said “farewell” to Windows XP last year, officially ending support for the venerable operating system and forcing many practices and companies to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8? Well, Microsoft is cleaning house again. This time they’re sending their oldest server operating system, Windows Server 2003, to the retirement home.

Every time a software company, particularly Microsoft, ends support for a product, it sends a wave of panic across small and large businesses using that product. By ending support for Windows Server 2003, Microsoft is essentially saying that it will no longer issue updates or security patches. Over time (but not much time), hackers, spyware, and malware expose and exploit vulnerabilities in the software. Without updates from Microsoft to stave off these exploits, your systems and data are at risk. Protecting PHI is huge HIPAA concern.

Any HIPAA-covered entity—that means providers like you—currently running Windows Server 2003 must upgrade on or before July 14, 2015, to a supported Windows Server operating system, to remain HIPAA compliant.

Check Your Servers

If your practice maintains an in-house server for (OfficeMate/ExamWRITER or AcuityLogic), you should consult your local IT professional to determine if you need to upgrade and, if so, make plans to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 or Server 2012 as soon as possible.

If your practice contracts a firm to host your server in the cloud, check their website or contact them to determine which server operating system your practice is using.

Determining Your Operating System

  1. Log onto the server.
  2. Click the Windows Start menu.
  3. Right-click Computer and select Properties.
    The General tab, System section lists your server operating system. If it says, Windows Server 2003, it’s time to upgrade.windows_pane

For information about software and hardware requirements, refer to our requirements pages:

Join the New Eyefinity Support Community

We’re excited to announce that we’re launching a new support community! This new platform will make it easier to find answers to your Eyefinity product questions, locate training and documentation, suggest ideas, and vote for new features.

Here are some of the exciting things that you will be able to do in the Eyefinity Support Community:

  • Create, view, and update support cases for your practice
  • Access our growing knowledge base, documentation, and training videos to learn how to leverage your Eyefinity products for maximum productivity
  • Ask questions, interact, and get answers to your Eyefinity product questions from your peers and other users
  • Share, vote, and contribute ideas to improve Eyefinity products

The answers to your questions are now at your fingertips! Get the information that you need—when you need it!

The support community will replace the current OfficeMate knowledge base, which will be retired this summer.

Getting Access to the New Support Community

Eyefinity will be contacting your practice soon to give you your username and password. If you’re eager to check out the new support community, click here to register.

Join the Eyefinity Support Community

ICD-10 is a New Era

By Dr. Robert (Bob) Day, Jr., Broadway Eye Center, Garland, TXdr_bob_day_web

When I started learning ICD coding, my dad, Dr. Robert Day, Sr., was President of the American Optometric Association (AOA), and they had just published the first Current Optometric Information and Terminology (COIT) book in June 1974.  It was optometry’s first attempt to participate in the new medical trend of systematically classifying diseases.  Optometry was just beginning to become more than simply prescribing a pair of glasses to help patients realize improved vision.

Learning ICD-9 versus ICD-10 is very much like comparing learning multiplication tables to learning calculus.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know my multiplication tables, but I remember struggling to learn calculus all too well.  I probably learned multiplication in the second or third grade. It was a straightforward process where one problem produces only one answer.  For example, 2×2 can only equal 4—easy enough, right? Then you advance to calculus (particularly differential) where one problem can produce multiple possible answers.  The learning process is far more complex, and the answers, at least initially, are far less obvious. But it can be done; you just need to spend the time to identify your best resource and to understand your goal.

Even now, I calculate simple multiplication in my head, but for calculus I need the help of technology (a calculator) to do calculus.  Likewise, ICD-9 is committed to memory, but for ICD-10, I will depend on technology in the form of my electronic health record system to handle most of the ICD-10 coding.

Speculation abounds, but it’s reasonable to assume that ICD-10 will mark the end of the paper super-bill and coding from memory. Under ICD-10, the AOA’s Express Mapping Card alone is four pages with almost 300 codes.  ICD-10 is clearly more complex, and trying to manage it without the help of technology will drastically add time and expense to your coding.

EHR_blog_footer

CMS Extends Medicare EHR Attestation Deadline

announcementIn a surprise announcement this morning, CMS extended the 2014 attestation deadline for the EHR Incentive Program, popularly known as “meaningful use.” The submission deadline is now March 20, 2015, at 11:59pm (ET).

This extension gives providers a chance to breathe and a little more time to gather their meaningful use data from 2014 and attest. This is fantastic news for all participating providers who want to avoid Medicare payment adjustments in 2016. This is particularly good news to those who are attesting to meaningful use for the first time, since this is their last chance to receive any incentive money for meaningful use under Medicare.

CMS was careful to point out that this extension applies only to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. This extension does not affect those providers who are participating under the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. CMS also urged providers to attest as soon as possible despite the extension.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 118 other followers