The transition from using ICD 9 to ICD-10 Codes is making a lot of hospital administrators nervous if not apoplectic. But regardless of sentiment, the transition will be implemented eventually and this means preparation is key to a smooth transition that will make the move less chaotic. A good place to start is knowing how the codes used most often will be changed. This should help ease some of the transition pain.
Physicians will need to be more specific in their documentation than they may have been in the past. Because there will be a greater number of code choices than in the ICD-9, physicians should have to choose an unspecified code less often. The greater specificity in diagnostic coding should help improve disease management and reporting overall.
Training hospital staff to use the new codes will be no small challenge no matter how well a hospital is prepared. But getting a head start will definitely alleviate problems during the transition. Knowledge of what will change is the key. There are 3 primary differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10. These changes are as follows.
- The codes will increase from roughly 13,000 to 68,000
- The codes will be increased in from 3-5 digits to 3-7 digits.
- The format of the codes will change. Currently codes are numeric for all chapters and alphanumeric for supplementary chapters. In the new system, the first digit in the code will be alphabetic, followed by numerals for digits 2 – 7.
This is obviously not an in dept analysis of the change, but if hospital administrators and doctors begin to familiarize themselves with the changes, they will be in a much better position to deal with the ICD 10 training and the implementation requirements.
For a bit of perspective on medical coding: ICD-9 was developed in the 1970’s — in the 70’s people could smoke in the hospital.
There are a lot of questions being asked about the transition from ICD-9 Codes to ICD-10 Codes. In the IT world the cycle of technological updates is much faster, but a valid comparison. The Medical code transition is comparable to the growing pains experienced by large institutions in the 90′s Workers trained to use mainframes with black and green terminal displays had to make the transition or become obsolete. The ICD-10 Transition is the same.
There are a lot of jokes about the new codes, because there are codes for some outlandish situations. But that’s the point. The old codes don’t cover many medical scenarios. The new codes seek to cover the everyday as well as the unthinkable. Better to have a category that is never used, than have the scenario and no proper way to categorize it.
Q: Among the jokes about ICD-10, the one that raised my eyebrow was the injuries related to macaws, particularly since the various species of macaws are almost entirely native to South America. But why does the U.S. need a code for macaw injuries?
A: You’ve got to remember that the avian flu was originally transmitted by a bird. If there was an outbreak of something in the U.S. suspected to be carried by a bird, we’d have the code and the CDC could require that it be reported.
ICD-10 Online Training at Codemart University
Watch the Chairman and CEO of CodeSmart University Ira Shapiro on FOX News
There are a number of challenges posed by the transition to the new ICD-10 codes. But with these challenges come new opportunities for those at the forefront of medical coding. The challenge for hospitals training existing ICD-9 Medical Coders with the new codes is primarily one of time. The existing coders need to learn the new codes while performing their existing responsibilities full-time. The best approach many hospitals and healthcare institutions have found is online training for their staff. With online, on demand ICD-10 training, staff can take the courses they need at the most opportune times for them. Online training combined with with monetary and scheduling incentives, is becoming the primary approach for dealing with the looming deadline of the ICD-10 transition in 2014.
There are three major components to the ICD-10 transition: physicians and their documentation, payers and their claims processing, and the medical coders that bridge the two.
Another big benefit to online training and certification is the ability to target the needs of those being trained. There is a wide spectrum of age and experience in the medical coding profession. Many coders may be just out of college while others have been working in the field for decades. With Online training and assessment, employers and coders can assess their requirements and get the training they need as opposed to the shotgun approach that can be expensive and needlessly time consuming.
The organizations that start sooner will certainly be the ones that find the transition the least painful. Coders will need anywhere from 55-65 hours of training, and those that start now instead of waiting until next summer will find the transition smoother, as well as making the lives of their existing medical coders easier. The new codes are more complex and require a deeper understanding of human anatomy and physiology. Those organizations that wait to train their staff will face much more difficulty in the long run, with staff that is not as confident in using the new ICD-10 codes.
In a recent Forbes article Ira Shapiro, Chariman and CEO of the CodeSmart Group explains that new healthcare coders will be in demand. The large number of new patients from the Affordable Care Act and the need to implement the ICD-10 codes by October of 2014 will only increase the need for well trained medical coders.
Dr. Farzad Mostashari, national coordinator for healthcare IT in the Obama administration, asserted in a keynote address in mid-June at the HIMSS Media ICD-10 Forum in Maryland, that “there would be no more extension of the deadline for switching from the ICD-9 medical coding system to the ICD-10.” The deadline for conversion, he reiterated, would remain Oct. 1, 2014.
By providing ICD-10 Online training, CodeSmart University is hoping to ease the transition from ICD-9 to the new ICD-10 codes. They are offering online course for existing coding professionals, clinicians and physicians as well as classes for new coding professionals looking to start a career in the healthcare industry.
As U.S. Healthcare organizations prepare for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, the AMA has petitioned HSS for a delay. HHS previously delayed the implementation 0f ICD-10 for one year - until October, 2014 – However there will be no further delays. This means Trained ICD-10 Coders will be in high demand across the country.
U.S. healthcare organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes to include codes for new medical procedures and diseases. The change to ICD-10 code sets means that health care insurers and providers must change from using about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.
Learn more about ICD-10 Online Training. Find a Career in the medical Coding Field