Beaverlog Tips:  Volume 50 - September 22, 2011

Sneak Peak at The THERAPIST Pro 3.0

An increasing number of you are calling to ask if we will have an upgrade that is compatible to the new ANSI X12 5010 electronic claim standard and the new ICD-10 diagnosis codes. The answer, of course, is yes; we will. For some time we have been working on the next major upgrade to The THERAPIST Pro. The last upgrade was in 2004 so the program is past due for a significant upgrade and that's exactly what you will see.

In addition to adding new capabilities our major goal was to make your work easier so that you can be more productive. Here are just a few of the things you can expect to see in The THERAPIST Pro 3.0.

  • Flatter interface - fewer screens to go through to get somewhere
  • Customized appearance – set screen font sizes and other visual features
  • Display patient photos
  • Support for X12 5010 Claims
  • The appointment calendar will show as many providers as your screen allows.
  • Built-in spell checker (for us "creative" spellers)
  • Rich text in form letters and printable notes (fonts, colors, alignment, etc.)
  • More control over security access and monitoring
  • New built-in reports
  • Enhanced report-writer
  • Lots, lots more!

We haven't yet finalized the upgrade price but we can say that there will be a discount for upgrading early.

Once the upgrade to The THERAPIST Pro is done, we'll turn our attention to The THERAPIST EZ. Stay tuned.

 

Standards Update

Important changes are coming in some national standards that will affect you. Here is a summary of what's coming. Much more information is available on the internet.

ANSI X12 5010

The HIPAA standard electronic claim format has undergone some major changes itself. The new version is 5010A1. The A1 stands for Errata 1, the first set of amendments to the 5010 base version. You may see it mentioned elsewhere as 5010E1 or 5010E2. A second Errata was released but it doesn't affect 837 professional claims, only institutional claims.

The changeover for X12 electronic claims from version 4010A1 to 5010A1 is January 1, 2012 if you are submitting electronic claims directly to payers. If you are going through a clearinghouse, however, you shouldn't have to worry. Your clearinghouse should be able to convert your claims to the new format for you. If you are still submitting paper claims, your time is coming. It is likely that soon all payers will require that claims be submitted electronically.

ICD-10-CM

The change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is at once both easier and more difficult. Converting our file structures to accommodate the new codes is easy. Changing the screens in the program is time-consuming but not difficult. What is harder is converting your patient diagnosis from one system to the other.

According to the World Health Organization, the organization responsible for both the ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM lists, "It is not possible to convert ICD-9 data sets into ICD-10 data sets or vice versa. ICD-9 has 6,969 codes while there are 12,420 codes in ICD-10 (14,199 with the fourth-character place of occurrence codes)." That said, there are conversion lists (and we have them) that will let us do the conversion. Doing the conversion is a bit more challenging but much easier than converting data from other versions of The THERAPIST or from Aeris Basic.

The really hard part is what you will have to do (though we'll help as much as possible). The change from ICD-9 diagnosis codes to ICD-10 will happen for dates of service on or after Tuesday, October 1, 2013. Claims for services before that October 1, 2013 should report diagnoses using ICD-9 codes and claims for services on or after that date should report diagnoses using ICD-10 codes. That means that you will have to generate all of your claims through September 30, 2013 before converting the diagnoses for your patients to ICD-10. Then you'll have to convert the diagnoses to ICD-10 before generating claims for dates of service on or after October 1, 2013.

The above process is what you will have to do if you are using Aeris Basic or The THERAPIST EZ. If you are using The THERAPIST Pro, life will be simpler. That's because Pro lets you enter a whole new diagnosis record when things change while preserving the previous diagnoses for a patient. Not only that but each diagnosis has an effective date and services will automatically attach the appropriate diagnosis based on the date of service. So with Pro, you will be able to do a batch conversion of all patient diagnosis codes by creating a new diagnosis record with the effective date of October 1, 2013 for each patient. Any service entered on or after that date will attach to the new diagnosis record. Pretty cool, huh?

In the mean time, you can convert individual ICD-9 codes to their ICD-10 equivalent at one of these web sites:

http://www.icd10data.com/Convert
http://www.aapc.com/icd-10/codes/

DSM-5

DSM-5 (not DSM-V) is scheduled to be released in May of 2013. As of now it is still a work in progress and a lot of things are still being worked out. For example, they are still debating whether to use ICD-9 codes as they do now or convert to ICD-10. Since HIPAA will require ICD-10 code and claims are likely to be rejected if they contain ICD-9 codes after October 1, 2013, I'm betting that ICD-10 will be the winner of this debate. Another issue is whether to collapse Axis I, Axis II, and Axis III into a single axis. You can follow the development of DSM-5 on the internet and even throw in your 2 cents on the various forums devoted to the topic.

Buying a New Computer

At some point, we all need to buy a new computer. Maybe you are just adding another computer to the mix, or your current one died, or maybe the old workhorse is just too old to keep up. Whatever the reason, there are some things to consider, especially if the computer you are getting will be running The THERAPIST.

Neither The THERAPIST nor Aeris Basic are not too fussy about what they will run on but it has to be running Microsoft Windows. If you have a newer Macintosh, you can run any of our programs so long as you also install Windows, we have plenty of customers doing just that.

Of course, The THERAPIST and Aeris Basic, like other programs, can always use faster processors and more memory (RAM) but our programs are not resource hogs so even a modest computer will work just fine. As far as hard disk space is concerned, our programs don't use up a lot of space there either, especially compared to the sizes of any hard drives you are likely to find. We also are not dependent on fast graphics cards so unless you plan to be playing a lot of games (definitely not a good idea on business computers) or will be running multiple monitors (can you say "power user?"), the graphics adapter that is probably built-in to the computer's motherboard will do nicely.

If you are replacing a computer and the computer vendor offers to move everything from your old computer to your new one, you will almost certainly run into problems with The THERAPIST or Aeris Basic. Whatever computer you get is likely to have Windows 7 and unless your old computer is Windows Vista or Windows 7, copying files and folders from the old computer to the new one will put your data in a place where Windows 7 really doesn't want it. Plus, there are other things that don't get set correctly unless you actually go through the installation process.

And that brings us to the next problem you may face. Chances are your installation CD for The THERAPIST or Aeris Basic is too old to correctly install the program onto Windows 7. Below are links to complete reinstallation instructions and the minimum versions you should have to install onto Windows Vista or Windows 7:

  The THERAPIST Pro 2.5.029
  The THERAPIST EZ 2.5.017
  Aeris Basic 1.0.009

Give us a call if you want to be sure. You can get a new CD with the latest version for only $20 [Ed: the price is $30 as of 12/10/2011].

Tip: Substitution Codes

Did you know that The THERAPIST Pro lets you define code substitutions? Code substitutions are where the program will replace one code with another when a claim is generated. For procedure and diagnosis codes, this substation is set by insurance carrier. So, for example, if you know that carrier XYZ accepts procedure code 90845 (Psychoanalysis) but not 90806 (Individual psychotherapy), you could tell the program that, for claims to XYZ, whenever it sees procedure code 90806 it will replace it with 90845. You can do the same thing with diagnosis codes.