ICD-10 codes are “a medical classification list for the coding of diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases”. The implementation date for ICD-10 has been delayed to October 1st, 2015. All HIPAA “covered entities” must make the change to ICD-10 coding. That means that ICD-9 codes will no longer be accepted, and ICD-10-CM codes must be used after the 2015 deadline.ICD-10 codes are more detailed and specific, more logically organized, and more clinically accurate.
Why the change to ICD-10?
ICD-9 is out of date. Everything in the world has changed over the past twenty years, especially healthcare and technology, which means changes are needed in diagnosis coding. The ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition is intended to update diagnosis coding and better reflect current medical diagnoses, practices, techniques, and technology. The increased level of data collection with ICD-10 will allow healthcare providers to:
Improve quality measurement
Improve tracking and response to public health issues and outbreaks
Incorporate greater specificity and clinical information
Expand the detail relevant to ambulatory and managed care encounters
You should begin planning for your practice’s ICD-10 transition, if you haven’t already. MediTouch is ready for ICD-10 and has been for several months. However, there are other aspects of the conversion that your practice will need to address, including staff and provider ICD-10 training, internal testing and cash flow. As noted on the HealthFusion blog, the steps you should take include:
Evaluate the expected impact on your practice
Establish a plan, team and timeline
Protect your practice cash flow
Take the time now to develop a written timeline with a team designated to implement it, and your ICD-10 transition will go much more smoothly. See our blog for additional tips on planning.
Develop an ICD-10 training plan for your practice that includes different types of training for different roles. The front office staff and billers will need different ICD-10 training than the providers. You can find useful timelines for training from both CMS and AHIMA.
The sheer number of codes may seem overwhelming; remember that your practice doesn’t have to learn every code. You only need to learn the codes you use for your specialty, and those you need to know well. You should seek help from your specialty society on training and resources.
The deadline for ICD-10 implementation has been delayed until at least October, 2015. Even with the recent delays, it’s best to plan for the 2015 deadline and be ready. And remember, with MediTouch you’ll still have the ability to bill using ICD-9 codes for claims before the deadline.
MediTouch ICD-10 Readiness
At HealthFusion we aim to make your transition to ICD-10 as smooth as possible. MediTouch is already ICD-10 ready, with all ICD codes pre-programmed into our database – and of course we will continue to support ICD-9 until the very last payer has migrated to ICD-10 exclusively.