The New Coding System Expected to Bring Huge Changes: Learning how to Transit Form ICD-9 to ICD-10!


ICD-9 to ICD-10

Medical Coders prepare for this change…

Learning New Codes and getting specific:  According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the transition to ICD-10 is occurring because ICD-9 produces very limited data about patients’ medical conditions and hospital inpatient procedures. Medical coders need to be prepared with these new codes as:

  • The ICD-10 transition includes seven-character codes from the three to five-digit ICD-9 codes to be able to capture the full nature of disease
  • The 17,000 different codes currently used in ICD-9 will grow to more than 140,000 when ICD-10 is fully implemented
  • The new codes will require more specificity in coding and documentation- for example one code currently used for acute otitis externa, becomes 28 potential codes
  • Moreover, the U.S. is the only country using the ICD-10 system for billing purposes as most of the other nations use it mainly for epidemiological reasons. Canada is among those countries that use it only in hospitals.

Charting and Documentation for ICD-10 is a huge concern with laterality being introduced hence Medical coders and physicians in this case can assess the new codes and the current existing charts to see if their current documentation supports the more in-depth requirements of ICD-10 and start preparing for this change.

Training: Besides the Medical coding & billing staff but also the physicians need to be trained and educated. However care needs to be taken that training begins not more than six to nine months before the new codes are used as they will likely be forgotten by the time they are needed.

Physician concerns:

Implementation is likely to be very costly and a big financial concern amongst practices and a typical small practice of three physicians can expect costs of more than $83,000 by the time the changeover is complete, while a practice of 10 providers may spend as much as $285,000 to fully implement ICD-10. Besides these costs computers, software and staff training is a major financial concern during the transition to ICD-10. Payments flow is also a major concern post implementation as payments are not entirely in the practice’s control. Moreover every part of the practice will have to be assessed in tandem with ICD-10 along with assessment of vendors.

Practices need to start gathering enough information on ICD-10 and Billers and Coders proficient in ICD-10 transition are the need of the hour and highly demanded. Physicians amidst the transforming healthcare environment as a feasible option are opting for services of medical billers and coders who are proactive and prepared with material-requisites for ICD-10. Personnel updated at are viable option for physicians in smooth transition to ICD-10; equipped with experience in HIPAA, ICD-10 and other compliances.

Moreover the unique ICD-10 Training Program encompassing 34 weeks of ICD-10 training and updates – strives to outline at no cost to medical billers and coders information & training- right from how ICD-10 will affect healthcare to how ICD-10 needs to be implemented within different specialties to ensure optimum revenue cycle management post ICD-10.

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