Effective October 1, 2014 there is a change coming to medical coding and billing. The medical coding and billing codes that have been used to report medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures for the last forty years, ICD-9 codes, are being replaced with more the detailed ICD-10 codes.
ICD-10 codes contain approximately 124,000 more coding options than its predecessor. The additional coding options allow for greater specificity of procedures and diagnoses, such as specific body parts and surgical approach, which are essential for accurate billing.
The original 2013 compliance date to change to new coding procedures was postponed to give providers time to prepare for the transition. The costs associated with the transition to ICD-10 codes continue to be a point of opposition for those who argue about the timing of the changes. With initiatives in place to try and control rising healthcare costs, opponents believe switching to the new codes should continue to be delayed. However, proponents of the change make note that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation not using ICD-10 codes, which have been in place since 1998.
The transition to ICD-10 codes does not apply to Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) coding. However, everyone covered by the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act, better known as HIPPA, is required to make the transition to the new codes. Organizations that are not cover by HIPPA, that use ICD-9 codes, should be aware that even though they are not required to transition to the new codes, ICD-9 will eventually become obsolete, ultimately creating billing issues.
The realization that ICD-10 is on its way has practitioners working diligently to integrate the new codes into their recordkeeping. Claims not using the ICD-10 codes after October 1, 2014 will not be processed. According to the American Health Information Association (AHIMA) medical coding and billing software is an effective tool in effortlessly transitioning from ICD-9 to ICD-10.