ICD-10 Transition, Are You Ready?!

On October 1, 2014, the ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision) codes used to report medical diagnosis and inpatient procedures will take the place of the current ICD-9 code sets.  This transition will affect everyone covered by HIPAA and any services and discharges on or after October 1, 2014 must use the ICD-10 codes.  Originally, this transition was set to take place in 2013 but the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced a one year delay.

This delay may have caused an upset to some physicians that have already started planning for the 2013 implementation of ICD-10.  However, most physicians realize that this delay will allow for more time to practice and prepare for the transition. The changes with ICD-10 will come with an increased number of codes and code specificity and a change in the number of characters per code.  ICD-10 codes will be alphanumeric and will contain 3 to 7 characters, as opposed to ICD-9 codes that are mostly numeric and contain only 3-5 characters.  Although this transition is somewhat in the distant future, it wouldn’t hurt to start learning and training staff about the structure and features of ICD-10.  Coder training should begin 6-9 months prior to implementation.

There are two types of ICD-10 codes.  ICD-10-CM is the diagnoses code set that will be replacing ICD-9-CM Volumes 1 and 2, these codes will be used to report diagnoses in all clinical settings.  The other codes are ICD-10-PCS which are the procedure code sets replacing ICD-9-CM Volume 3, these codes are used to report hospital inpatient procedures.  The change to ICD-10 will not affect CPT coding for outpatient procedures.

Some of the necessary changes in order to be compliant by October 2014 will include using ANSI 5010 standards for all electronic transactions (these have been a requirement since January 1, 2012). Other improvements and conversions might include developing an implementation strategy and reviewing payment policies.

For TheraOffice users, we will have an update that will be compliant with ICD-10 sometime next year.  We will have a transition period where you will be able to send out ICD-9 and ICD-10 claims before October 1, 2014. We will also offer a webinar once we get closer to implementation.  As far as costs that are involved, any TheraOffice On-Site users in subscription plan or Direct Purchase with an active support/maintenance plan and all TheraOffice Web users will receive this update when available at no extra cost.

In the meantime, it is never too early to start educating your staff on what ICD-10 is, how it will affect the practice, what needs to be done to prepare, and who is responsible for the transition.

The reason for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is because the ICD-9 codes are outdated and over 30 years old. Because we are continuously advancing in technology, it is important that these codes are useable for today’s treatments, reporting procedures, and payment processes.   Although this transition may cause a lot of extra work for physicians, the good news is that this change is additional proof that we are progressing, especially in the medical industry.

Here are some links that you can follow for additional information: