October 1st has come and gone, which means the deadline to convert to the ICD-10 coding system has passed as well. Healthcare providers and physicians around the U.S. are now using the new ICD-10 code set, which holds 69,101 diagnosis codes and 71,957 procedure codes. For some, this new code set is causing stress because the ICD-9 coding system (which held 14,315 diagnosis codes and 3,838 procedure codes) has been in use for over 30 years— and many were more than comfortable with it.
Although it is a large change in the healthcare industry, this new coding system will be of great use for outcome and data study analyses. Getting to know the system and learning to use it properly will be impactful for future medical data collection in the United States.
1. Why, After 30 Years, did the Government Switch From ICD-9?
The ICD-9 coding system has been in use for 30 years. As technology shifts in the medical industry, however, the coding systems too, must change. ICD-9 became too outdated for today’s healthcare. The diagnosis and procedure codes were too vague, and it became inaccurate in providing specific medication information. Eventually, ICD-9 became classified as no longer usable for coding treatments, reporting processes, or billing payment processes. With the updated ICD-10 coding system, the codes are more specific in terms of clinical diagnosis. They can help to determine the severity of an illness and provide more accurate diagnosis and treatment codes for patients.
2. Why the 2-Year Delay in Enforcing ICD-10?
As mentioned, this transition of coding systems that began in 2013 has been a large one for healthcare providers. To make the change more efficient and effortless, the U.S. government expanded the code enforcing deadline for one year, and they did it twice. This allowed for healthcare providers and physicians to slowly begin learning and implementing the ICD-10 coding system. During the two year delay there were no error penalizations or miscodings to be given out. By offering healthcare providers two years to learn the ICD-10 coding system, the government hopes to have alleviated negative aftermath of the new, more complex coding system.
3. Do’s and Don’ts After ICD-10 Conversion
With ICD-10 now in effect, there are a few do’s and don’ts we recommend for healthcare providers if you have not already done so:
- DO offer on-going physician training on documentation processes
- DO create “favorites” of codes commonly diagnosed in your Electronic Health Record system
- Don’t fall into using the weary ICD-10 translation tools. You may lose information and potential reimbursements in doing so.
- Don’t be hesitant to find help. This is a significant change and there are qualified experts ready to help.
4. HIS is Here to Help
So you weren’t quite as ready for ICD-10 as you thought… you’re not alone. The good news is, you can get back on your feet. At Healthcare Information Services, we have an experienced team of more than 65 certified professional coders who are ready to help. Whether it be learning the ICD-10 system or needing assistance with the new documentation requirements, HIS is qualified to be of help to any healthcare provider. Your organization does not have to face the aftermath of this transition alone. Utilizing us as a resource in your conversion to ICD-10 will guarantee maximization of company reimbursement, profitability, and efficiency.