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 started on October 1st, 2015. All HIPAA “covered entities” we required to make the change to ICD-10 coding. As of October 1, 2015, ICD-9 codes are no longer accepted. ICD-10 codes are more detailed and specific, more logically organized, and more clinically accurate.
Why the change to ICD-10?
ICD-9 was out of date. The world has changed over the past twenty years, especially healthcare and technology, which means that changes were needed in diagnosis coding. The ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition was intended to update diagnosis coding and better reflect current medical diagnoses, practices, techniques, and technology. The increased level of data collection with ICD-10 allows 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 be completely prepared for the ICD-10 transition. MediTouch is ready for ICD-10. 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 have taken include:
Evaluate the expected impact on your practice
Establish a plan, team and timeline
Protect your practice cash flow
You should also take the time now to plan for the lift on the ICD-10 Flexibility Rule, AKA the ICD-10 “honeymoon period.” MediTouch will give you the support you need to adhere to the more stringent ICD-10 coding system. See our blog for additional tips on planning.
If you haven’t already, 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 arrived on October 1, 2015 and we all survived. But remember that the claim submission standard has been relaxed, and all Medicare claims are being paid as long as the code is in the same family and the clinical finding … for now. In October 2016, more precise coding of claims will be required. While most billing systems don’t offer the additional tools to make the next leg of the ICD-10 transition work for your practice, MediTouch will get you there with ease.
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.