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Top Priorities When Implementing ICD-10: Using the Extension to Provide Focused Training

CohnReznick, in collaboration with VantagePoint HealthCare Advisors, presents this article as the first in a series to focus on the priorities in preparing the healthcare industry for the implementation of ICD-10. Forthcoming articles in the series, to be shared throughout the coming year, will include the following topics:

  • ICD-10 – CM vs. PCS
  • Tools and Resources
  • Suggested Timeline
  • Workflow Changes Associated
  • LCD’s Are Changing – Are You Ready?
  • PQRS Measures Now Include ICD-10
  • Examples from Provider Readiness Assessments


In April 2014, President Obama signed a provision1 into law that delays the implementation of the ICD-10 code until at least October 1, 2015. As reaching the go-live date of ICD-10 may seem like an extended journey for healthcare professionals, the latest delay is testament to the complex scope of the conversion to ICD-10 and the intricate tasks providers will face in the process.

Although the one-year extension is welcomed by many across the healthcare industry – viewed as an opportunity for additional preparation time – healthcare providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses should maintain the momentum already underway in attaining ICD-10 readiness. Perhaps most importantly, for those who have yet to actively approach the transition process, now is time to fast-track preparation efforts and ensure that core internal and external systems are ready to handle the switch. Doing so will safeguard against potentially significant disruptions and financial implications to the practice post-ICD-10 implementation.

A vital component of ICD-10 readiness is the training of providers and staff. Providers should take advantage of the extended period to train, as it will take several months, if not more, to guide all necessary staff in the use of ICD-10. Identifying those staff members who require training and selecting a strong program are necessary initial steps. A training program should be in place for billers, coders, and clinical staff. Fortunately, there are myriad resources and program options available to suit the needs of your staff and environment. Some instructional methods currently offered include:

  • Web-based training – Requires no travel costs, and most training sessions can be accessed “on demand” and completed at the staff’s own pace.
  • Group (in-person) training – May be more economical for larger groups; allows for direct interaction with the instructor.
  • Boot camps – Intended for coders who need the full spectrum of education with regard to learning the ICD-10 guidelines, use of place holders, seventh characters, and specialty-specific coding.
  • Seminars and workshops – Conducted in-person for coders and staff; provides the interactivity and “give and take” that is often necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of how to code.


The yearlong reprieve of the implementation of ICD-10 can be seen as a cushion allowing providers to approach preparation more leisurely. However, this is actually the opportune time for providers to ensure they are positioned to begin ICD-10 compliance properly. With training as a key step in that direction, providers can effectively minimize any disruption and financial impact that could otherwise be experienced down the road.


For more information, please contact Xhemil (John) Koliani, Partner, at 860-678-6023, or Richard Puzo, Partner and Medical Industry Practice Leader, at 973-364-6675. To learn more about CohnReznick’s Medical Industry Practice, visit our webpage.

VantagePoint HealthCare Advisors offers several opportunities for training. Click here for more information or contact Helen Hadley, Founder and CEO, or Susan Prior, CHC, President and COO, at 203-288-6860.

[1] HR4302 “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014”

This has been prepared for information purposes and general guidance only and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is made as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication, and CohnReznick LLP, its members, employees and agents accept no liability, and disclaim all responsibility, for the consequences of you or anyone else acting, or refraining to act, in reliance on the information contained in this publication or for any decision based on it.

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