Massachusetts Medical Society: ICD-10 Tips for Small Provider Practices

ICD-10 Tips for Small Provider Practices

From the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

All health care providers covered by HIPAA must make the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes by the October 1, 2015, compliance deadline.

ICD-10 will affect every aspect of how your organization provides care, from software upgrades and patient registration and referrals, to clinical documentation and billing.

Key Steps to Prepare for ICD-10

With adequate planning and preparation, you can ensure a smooth transition for your practice. Whether you are just starting the planning process, or ahead of schedule, the checklist below can help make sure you keep your efforts on track. 

1. Inform and educate staff about the transition to ICD-10.

  • Appoint an ICD-10 coordination manager
  • Tell your staff about upcoming changes and your transition plan
  • Educate staff on changes in documentation requirements from health plans
  • Seek resources from CMS and professional and membership organizations to help with the transition

2. Perform an impact assessment. Identify potential changes to existing work flow and business processes by looking at your current use of ICD-9.

  • Make a list of staff members who need ICD-10 resources and training, such as billing and coding staff, clinicians, management, and IT staff
  • Evaluate the effect of ICD-10 on other planned or ongoing projects (e.g., electronic health records)

3. Plan a comprehensive and realistic budget. Estimate and secure a budget, including costs such as software, hardware, staff training, and production costs.

4. Contact system vendors, clearinghouses, and/or billing services to assess their readiness and evaluate current contracts.

  • Ask your vendors how they will support you in the transition to ICD-10
  • Request  a timeline and cost estimate

Getting Ready for Testing

Once you have completed the planning steps, prepare to test ICD-10. It is important to conduct internal testing of ICD-10 within a clinical practice as well as external testing with payers and other external business partners.


The CMS ICD-10 website at offers resources and guidance to help plan for the ICD-10 transition. Tailored guidance and tips for planning are available on the provider resources page. To keep up to date on the latest news, sign up for weekly ICD-10 email update messages and follow @CMSGov on Twitter.

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