Health Care Providers Are Anxious in Anticipation of Shift to ICD-10

September 23rd 2015
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff
Contemporary Clinic Editorial Staff

With less than 3 weeks to go until the October 1 deadline for the adoption of ICD-10, many health care providers are concerned about the challenges the new system may present.

With less than 3 weeks to go until the October 1 deadline for adoption of the International Classification of Disease, 10thEdition, known as ICD-10, many health care providers are concerned about the challenges the new system may present, according to arecent article on New York Times.com. The ICD-9 to -10 shift will include more than 100,000 new codes, making diagnostic descriptions more specific and…more interesting? (Did you ever think you would need a code for “crushed by crocodile”? It’s W58.13.)

Providers are concerned that incorrectly coded claims will be rejected or denied, and that as a result, payments will be delayed. According to the article, “some doctors and hospitals are already obtaining lines of credit because they fear that the transition to the new system will cause cash-flow problems.”

In addition, providers are worried about the additional amount of time that the new coding procedures will add to their patient encounters since the new system will require providers to report more detail about the care they provided. In an example given by the article, a provider will be required to indicate whether a patient with diabetes also has kidney disease, eye disorders, or neuropathy.

Patients will likely feel the effects of the ICD-9 to -10 shift as “doctors may need to perform additional tests” and patients “often need prior approval from insurers for [the] tests and medical procedures.” In addition, as some improperly coded claims may be denied by insurers, patients will likely see this in their statements. Clinicians should be prepared for more questions from their patients once the new codes go into effect.

For more information on the new ICD-10 codes, access the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid ServicesICD-10 Code Lookup.

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