by Laresa Boyle, RHIA, HCS-D

ICD-10-CM is coming and it’s never too early to prepare!  If this is the first time you have heard of the transition to ICD-10, you might have a little catching up to do, but it is certainly not too late to get started.  The implementation date is January 1, 2013, but I would recommend you start using ICD-10-CM at least six months prior to make sure you and your staff are ready. 

ICD-10 has many advantages over ICD-9.  ICD-9 has merely run out of room to add more diagnoses and it is not nearly as specific as ICD-10.  ICD-9-CM has approximately 13,000 codes.  ICD-10-CM has approximately 68,000 codes.  This means you need to start training your clinicians and physicians now on documentation and train your coders on how to translate that documentation.

More advantages of ICD-10 include:

  • Higher quality information for measuring healthcare service quality, safety, and efficiency
  • Improved efficiencies and lower costsICD-!0 Coding
  • Reduced coding errors
  • Greater achievement of the benefits of an electronic health record
  • Recognition of advances in medicine and technology
  • Alignment of the US with coding systems worldwide
  • Improved ability to track and respond to international public health threats
  • Enhanced ability to meet HIPAA electronic transaction/code set requirements
  • Increased value in the US investment in SNOMED-CT
  • Space to accommodate future expansion

There are many great resources available to help you start to prepare for ICD-10.  Here is an excellent place to start. 

If this all sounds a bit too overwhelming, HEALTHCAREfirst is here to get you through the transition and for all your coding needs.  Our Home Health Coding Services are available on as-needed basis or for your full time daily coding needs. Call or email us for more information!

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