ICD-10 Transition Guide Now Available for Healthcare Providers

ICD-10 Transition Guide Released

The impending transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnostic coding sets has healthcare providers concerned over the confusion that may result when they switch from roughly 18,000 codes to nearly 150,000.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is attempting to alleviate some of the anxiety for the October 2013 deadline by publishing a guide to implementing ICD-10.

The seven-page guide provides information on general reporting, necessary actions, claims submission and how to handle claims that occur during the transition to the new code set.

The healthcare community has been buzzing about the complexity of the new coding system. While ICD-9 gave descriptions of diagnoses and procedures, ICD-10 gets much more granular, noting things like specific bone broken, artery receiving stent or how an injury occurred.

Some providers welcome the more detailed descriptions, but many feel the numerous codes for how and where an injury occurred border on ridiculous. Check out some of the more surprising codes and decide for yourself.

ICD-10 by the Numbers
69,000 diagnoses codes, up from roughly 14,000
72,000 procedure codes, up from about 4,000
195 codes for suturing artery, up from 1
312 codes involving animals (including “bitten by turtle” and “struck by turtle”)
72 codes linked to bird-related injuries
27 codes associated with water-skiing injuries (including three for burning water-skis)
3 codes related to walking into a lamppost
1 code for knitting or crochet incidents

The detailed, elaborate new code set will certainly take some time for providers to get used to, which is why it’s essential that the CMS proactively publish resources like the transition guide.

The new code system was created by the CMS and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based on the World Health Organization’s system, which has been in use for more than a decade in several countries.

It may seem like you have plenty of time to prepare for ICD-10, but October 2013 will be here before you know it. If you don’t start preparing now, ICD-10 could sneak up on you like a lamppost (ICD-10 code: W2202XA).

Will ICD-10 help deliver a better standard of care or just make things more confusing? Share your opinion.