The ICD-10 billing code system will expand the number of billing codes in the ICD-9 from 18,004 to 155,000 codes. This change will take place by October 1, 2014. The expanded codes create a need for the biller to have a more in-depth understanding of the medical conditions and diseases to accurately bill the patient. If billers are untrained or improperly trained it will create havoc for practices. Practices across the country are wrestling with the questions of 'when' and 'how' to train employees.
Several training methods are available. The depth of the training ranges from self-paced online modules to certification courses that require dozens of hours of in-person instruction. With the huge increase in individual codes and variety of training programs many administrators are left scratching their heads at the decision of how to train their staff. There seems to be a consensus that an online training module provides the flexibility and informational value that best suits the educational needs of many practices.
Experts recommend that the training material used is centered around billing codes most commonly used in the practice. For example, the employees of a cardiologist practice should focus their training on the medical billing codes for heart-related disease and conditions.
The experts also suggested that practices begin training now by assessing how well the staff works with ICD-9. The practice should address any bad practices and frequent problems before moving to the more complex ICD-10 system.
Many experts suggest waiting to train employees until about three months before the transition to ICD-10 to avoid workers forgetting how to use the new coding system since they will be still be interacting with the older system daily.