Health Information Management

News: One (more) Year until ICD-10-CM/PCS Implementation: Be an active voice

CDI Strategies, October 9, 2014

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Never fear, ICD-10 will be here (hopefully) by this time next year.

A week ago, the industry sounded (yet again) the one-year alarm to raise awareness for ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation. CMS guaranteed once and again that no further delays would be implemented, so those in the coding and documentation and other affiliated healthcare industries are hoping that this time implementation will indeed take place on October 1, 2015 as planned.

Most feel secure that this time the date will remain firm. Why? Because ICD-9-CM isn’t getting it done anymore. ICD-9-CM is vague, out of room, and out of date.

Think about this: The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics actually sent a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services recommending the U.S. move to ICD-10 more than 10 years ago.

CDI and coding specialists can help ensure that CMS actually implements ICD-10 next year. How? Talk about the specific benefits of ICD-10 as they relate to your audience. Talk to brain surgeons about the detailed ICD-10-CM codes for cerebral infarctions.

Think how much easier it will be, Doctor Brain Surgeon, to follow your patient’s progress and track how well different treatment methods work with all of these additional details (ICD-10-CM also includes more detailed codes for sequela from a cerebral infarction). Image the research possibilities. Consider the medical and treatment advances you can make.

Consider the additional specificity of the codes such cerebral infarction due to:

  • Thrombosis of precerebral arteries
  • Embolism of precerebral arteries
  • Unspecified occlusion or stenosis of precerebral arteries
  • Thrombosis of cerebral arteries
  • Embolism of cerebral arteries
  • Unspecified occlusion or stenosis of cerebral arteries

And isn’t it all about better patient care? So let’s tell a better story about our patients.

CDI and coders need to help tell the story about ICD-10 so everyone (or the majority at least) is on board with the transition.

ICD-10 is not harder to use. ICD-10-CM is similar in many ways to ICD-9-CM. You look up codes the same way, you still follow guidelines (90%-95% of the time it’s the same guidelines), you still code from the Tabular List, not the Alphabetic Index.

And clinicians provided input into ICD-10. In fact, the vast majority of ICD-10 updates come from physician groups, according to Sue Bowman, RHIA, CCS, senior director of coding policy and compliance for AHIMA in Chicago.

On the subject of physician misconceptions, doctors don’t need to learn to code in ICD-10. They just need to document better (really they already need to document better in ICD-9, but that’s another story). Instead of hitting them with codes, introduce them to new concepts in ICD-10, says Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CGSC, COBGC, CPEDC, CENTC, vice-president of ICD-10 training and education for AAPC in Salt Lake City. Those concepts include:

  • Laterality (which they should already be documenting)
  • Episodes of care
  • Anatomical location
  • Cause/type
  • Complication/manifestation

To make this the last year we’re planning to implement ICD-10, CDI and coding specialists need to look for ways to get accurate information out about ICD-10. Start with your own hospital.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published on the ICD-10 Trainer Blog.



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