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Are You Ready for the ICD-10 Deadline?

October 04, 2013

Latest revision of healthcare coding system will add several thousand classifications.

Come October 1, 2014, healthcare organizations across the United States will need to have integrated the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, which is more commonly shortened as ICD-10. This coding system is designed to track various illnesses and ailments by classifying them numerically.

The latest revision of the coding system will add several thousand classifications that enable physicians and doctors to more accurately track conditions. For instance, MedPageToday reported that asthma would need to be classified as being “mild,” “mild intermittent,” “mild persistent,” “moderate persistent,” or “severe.” To accommodate for all of these new codes, the average length will increase from between three and five numbers long to seven digits.

There are numerous benefits associated with integrating ICD-10. For instance, one study from RAND suggested that ICD-10 could be a gateway to more accurate payments for new procedures, fewer rejected claims, fewer fraudulent claims, improved disease management and better tracking abilities. Overall, integration is expected to save the healthcare industry $6 billion.

While greater specificity enables more accuracy and better administrative results, ICD-10 integration also creates new challenges. Doctors and physicians will need to learn all the new codes, as they must use them in their patient files. In fact, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has already delayed the deadline for ICD-10 integration because of all the adjustments healthcare organizations need to make to implement the new coding system.

Still, many doctors are not prepared for the October 2014 deadline. One study from AAPC Client Services found that only 63 percent of providers’ current documentation is sufficient to support ICD-10 requirements. Healthcare organizations will need to buckle down with their implementation of ICD-10 to make the deadlines.


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