ICD-10 — It’s Closer Than You Think

On October 1, 2014, you and your practice will be required to switch from the familiar ICD-9 code set to more detailed ICD-10 codes. While ICD-10 contains many more codes, your practice will continue to use only codes that are relevant to the patients you treat.

Think about your office today – you have been using the same ICD-9 codes for years and have probably memorized the ones you work with most frequently. To prepare for the new code set:

  • Identify the diagnoses you most frequently code.
  • Use an ICD-10 code book or software tool to look up these diagnoses and review the potential new codes for the best match.
  • Understand how your clinicians communicate with your coding/billing colleagues: What words do they use to describe their routine protocols to coders/billers?
  • Identify how your practice will enter key words, medical notes, and content in medical records so the protocols are clearly communicated.
  • Discuss changes that may occur in clinical documentation to support ICD-10 code selection.
  • As you begin testing ICD-10 in the coming year, share your ICD-10 code interpretation and selections with your colleagues to minimize the learning curve and avoid miscommunications.

You may notice multiple ICD-10 codes for a given ICD-9 code. The ICD-10 code structure accommodates more information than the ICD-9 structure, for added detail. The result is a more complete picture of complex medical conditions that your clinical documentation will need to capture.  

To take advantage of the power of ICD-10, your practice will need to:

  • Look at how ICD-10 codes differ from ICD-9 codes for your most common diagnoses.
  • Identify what additional documentation or descriptive language clinicians might need to include to ensure selection of the correct ICD-10 code.

Keep Up to Date on ICD-10
Visit the CMS ICD-10 website  for the latest news and resources to help you prepare.

For practical transition tips:


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