|Like it or not, the new ICD-10 diagnosis codes take effect on October 1, 2014. All healthcare providers are required to comply with the new regulations or they can expect trouble with insurance reimbursement. History shows that when other countries have transitioned to ICD-10 the initial impact is significant enough to have caused marked slowdowns in billing and reimbursement.
So what can healthcare providers expect when their office phases out ICD-9 and incorporates the ICD-10 billing requirements into their healthcare practice? The shear number of codes can be overwhelming. The number of billing codes will go from a miniscule 17,000 to over 140,000. Your patient walked into a lamppost, initial encounter? There’s a code for that, W22.02XA. Another patient suffered burn due to water skis on fire? Bill it using V91.07XA. Simple.
Coders will need to have a more detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as medical terminology. There are codes for injuries received while sewing, ironing, playing a brass instrument, crocheting, doing handcrafts, or knitting, but not while shopping. There are codes for injuries from birds such as: a duck, macaw, parrot, goose, turkey, or chicken. Codes differentiate between being bitten by a turtle and being struck by a turtle. No, I am not kidding.
Despite the raft of ICD-10 jokes, the fact that large numbers of unprepared providers (especially independents) will incur potentially devastating revenue stalls is no laughing matter. Still, lessons can be learned from international implementations of ICD-10.
It will take longer than you think.
It will cost more than you budget.
You will miss important considerations or vital areas to upgrade.
You should have started already.
Doctors will need to be more specific in their documentation to get paid, and coders will have to work more closely with doctors and educate them on proper coding methods. Superbills that had been used in the past as a way of quickly coding diagnoses and services, may no longer be effective timesavers. Physicians may have to invest in new software designed to accept the longer digit codes. Staffing is another matter. Longtime business office personnel may not be equipped to change to ICD-10, leaving practices scrambling to meet the requirements of the new code set. Cvikota Company is in full preparation to meet the demands of ICD-10, and will be ready to help practices make a successful transition.