Overview of ICD-10

Process revisions and implementations are not new to the US medical claims processing industry. But, after the ICD-9 transition in 1970s, ICD-10 is the major change that the medical billing and coding industry faces. We know that United States is not the first nation to implement ICD-10. Canada implemented ICD-10 in 2001, Germany in 2000, Australia in 1998, and the United kingdom in 1995 itself. As opposed to other nations that implemented ICD-10, the US has much enhanced ICD-10 coding setup due to the medical advancements that has happened during these years.

Let’s see the key factors about ICD-10.

ICD-10 Coding structure:

  • ICD-10 has 3-7 digits when compared to ICD-9 that has 3-5 digits
  • In ICD-10, Digit 1 is a letter, 2 a number and others (3-7) are either letters or numbers.

Who should implement ICD-10?

All entities in the United States that currently uses ICD-9 version like hospitals, physician’s offices, medical billing companies,  clearing houses etc.

How many ICD-10 Codes for 2013 implementation?

This cannot be answered accurately till the last coding update is published by CMS. The current version contains around 150,000 codes including CM & CPT codes.

What will ICD-10 change?

The ICD-10 coding system introduces thousand of diagnosis & procedure codes for better specificity.  As far as CPT codes are concerned, changes are made only to the in-patient hospital procedures where as outpatient & office procedures are not affected by the ICD-10 coding system. ICD-10 will make changes to the medical billing and coding operations.

A new dimension to medical billing and coding:

The use of ICD-9 codes was limited in terms of reporting & specificity. The ICD-10 coding system introduces a new dimension of ‘specificity’ to medical billing and coding by providing accurate codes for diagnosis and procedure.

Benefits of ICD-10 implementation:

ICD-10 implementation has multiple benefits.

  • Improved quality in clinical documentation
  • Improved quality in healthcare
  • Control over healthcare fraudulent activities
  • Great reporting features
  • Interoperability with other countries
  • Great accuracy with fewer codes

Implementation deadline:

ICD-10 has to be implemented across the United States on October 1, 2013