ICD-10 Readiness: Background & FAQ


This piece is the first of a two part series discussing the transition to ICD-10. The ICD-10 transition should be a high priority concern in healthcare.

Today, the healthcare industry is rapidly moving closer to the compliance date for ICD-10. That date is October 1, 2013.  As that date draws closer, organizations will need to actively take action to successfully be compliant.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is actively providing resources to assist in achieving this success.

FAQ Fact Sheet

CMS posted a downloadable PDF FAQ “transition basics” fact sheet indicating sixteen question and answers.  This tip sheet gives an excellent and informative overview to the transition to ICD-10.

Among these Q/A’s are:

    • What does ICD-10 compliance mean?
      • ICD-10 compliance means that all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) covered entities are able to successfully conduct health care transactions on or after October 1, 2013 using the ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes. ICD-9 diagnosis and procedure codes can no longer be used for health care services provided on or after this date
    • What is the transition to ICD-10 happening?
      • The transition is occurring because ICD-9 codes have limited data about patients’ medical conditions and hospital inpatient procedures. ICD-9 is 30 years old, has outdated and obsolete terms, and is inconsistent with current medical practice.
      • Also, the structure of ICD-9 limits the number of new codes that can be created, and many ICD-9 categories are full.
      • A successful transition to ICD-10 will be vital to transforming our nation’s health care system.
    • What type of training will providers and staff need for the ICD-10 transition?
      • Training should take place in late 2012 or early 2013 for most staff. Training needs will vary for different organizations. For example, physician practice coders will need to learn ICD-10 diagnosis coding only, while hospital coders will need to learn both ICD-10 diagnosis and ICD-10 inpatient procedure coding.
      • Look for specialty-specific ICD-10 training offered by societies and other professional organizations. Take into account that ICD-10 coding training will be integrated into the CEUs that certified coders must take to maintain their credentials.
      • ICD-10 resources and training materials will be available through CMS, professional associations and societies, and software/system vendors. Visit http://www.cms.gov/ICD10 regularly throughout the course of the transition to access the latest information on training opportunities.

As we move closer to the deadline, CMS will certainly provide more information on the ICD-10 transition. Visit their Latest News page to sign up for notifications, industry updates, attend teleconferences, and obtain other valuable resources.

The second part of this series will discuss implementation and producing results.  Look for that piece next week!

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