ICD-10 Is Coming! Are You Ready? A Few Fun Facts…

Article Categories: Medical Law and Ethics & Administration

The 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) will go into effect on October 1, 2015. That’s the date when ICD-9 billing codes will become obsolete and ICD-10 codes will to in to effect. After that, all claims for reimbursement for services submitted to Medicare, Medicaid and other HIPAA-covered industries must use ICD-10 codes. If the ICD-10 codes aren’t used, the claims will be rejected and returned to the provider…unpaid. Ouch!

Are you ready?

You’ve probably been preparing a long time for this implementation. You’re really tired of hearing about how many new codes there are and how to bill. How about a few fun facts?

• The first ICD was known for a while as the “International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.” It was first published by the International Statistical Institute in 1893. Medical Assistants, along with other professionals, have been cursing it ever since.

• The World Health Organization (WHO) took over ICD when WHO was founded in 1948. (Probably because no one else wanted the job.) The ICD is the global standard to report mortality and morbidity data. It’s also used to define and study diseases, measure outcomes, and determine how to use resources in the clinical setting.

• The ICD-10 has been delayed since 2009 and as recently as 2014. Apparently nobody had the energy to launch such a big project. Even now, some lawmakers in Congress are still trying to postpone an implementation.

• Some of the most humorous ICD-10 codes? "Struck by orca, initial encounter," and "Unspecified balloon accident injuring occupant, sequela." Please let us all know if you get to use these codes!

• Before you get too relaxed, ICD-10 isn’t released yet but is already in revision. ICD-11 will be headed your way in October 2017.

As a healthcare professional, you know that healthcare and reimbursements are never constant. New changes and procedures are a regular thing. Take the ICD-10 codes in stride, follow the regulations, and your office practice will continue to be strong. And don’t be surprised about what comes next. There is ALWAYS a “next.”

All humor aside, as an administrator, the Medical Assistant must be ready for compliance on October 1, 2015, or risk losing or reducing your payments for services to HIPAA covered entities as well as from other payers who will also switch to ICD-10 billing codes.

At your next staff meeting, don’t be afraid to ask if everyone is ready for the switch. Checklists for compliance are available online, or visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for more information.

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