Health IT Pulse

Jul 31 2013   10:38AM GMT

ICD-10 facts and myths resource addresses key coding issues

Alex Delvecchio Alex Delvecchio Profile: Alex Delvecchio

computer-assisted coding
ICD-10 implementation

The CMS updated their ICD-10 facts and myths resource to help providers who are preparing for the transition to the new codes. One of the issues the document addresses is the age of ICD-10 — it was released in 1992 — and whether that might affect its relevance or ability to support today’s medical technology. The CMS document notes that regular updates were made to ICD-10 codes in 2011, and limited updates for new technologies and diseases were made in 2012 and will be made later this year. No updates will be made to the previous standard, ICD-9, after Oct. 1, 2014, the date on which all HIPAA covered-entities must be in compliance with ICD-10.

The CMS resource also addresses the sharp increase in the number of codes in ICD-10 compared to the previous version. The total number of codes is expanding from 14,000 to 150,000. The CMS fact sheet states that ICD-10’s greater number of codes and level of specificity makes it easier, and less complicated to use. A recent Journal of AHIMA/Cleveland Clinic study tested the effectiveness of computer-assisted coding (CAC) in anticipation of increased use during the ICD-1 transition. The study found that the time it takes to code a record decreased by 22% when credentialed coders used CAC, though the technology alone didn’t improve coding speed or accuracy.

ICD-10 was initially mandated to be adopted by Oct. 1, 2013 but that deadline was delayed a year, partially due to dissatisfaction expressed by the American Medical Association. The CMS resource discounts the possibility of another delay stating, “HHS has no plans to extend the compliance date for implementation.” Those in favor of the delay didn’t support anything more than a year suspension, calling such a potential alteration a “game-changer.”

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