SRS Newsletter
September 2012
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ICD-10: What does it mean for you?

R. Dale Blasier, MD, FRCS(C), MBA
Chair SRS Coding Committee
Donna Lahey, BSN, CNOR
NASS Coding Committee

R. Dale Blasier, MD, FRCS(C), MBA

October 1, 2014 is the date that ICD-10 will go into effect.

ICD-9-CM and ICD-9-PCS (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and other Health Problems) have been the standard code sets used for reporting diagnoses and inpatient procedures in the United States since 1979. This 34 year old system was implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the purpose of reporting morbidity and mortality information for vital health statistic tracking and research. This classification system is no longer capable of keeping up with the advances in medical practice, treatment, health information needs, or payment processes.

For practices throughout the United States this means change from the current 14,000 code diagnosis system (ICD-9-CM) to a new 68,000 diagnosis code system (ICD-10-CM). The current ICD-9 system can no longer accommodate new diagnoses of medical conditions or hospital inpatient procedures nor does it sufficiently specify disease etiology, anatomical site, and severity. ICD-9 also does not accurately reflect advances in medical technology, treatment or knowledge; it has limited ability to measure health care services or conduct public health surveillance; and it cannot accurately measure quality of care, outcomes, safety, and security.

The new system has five to seven characters and will permit these codes to be placed within their correct category while allowing more specificity to accommodate subcategories of diseases and health problems. Laterality will also be addressed with the new system.

Due to expanded character length in ICD-10, system upgrades to medical records will require a change from Version 4010 of the HIPAA electronics administrative transactions to Version 5010. Implementation will take great preparation, thorough planning, training, time and financial resources. Implementation will affect all areas of practice and work staff. All forms that include diagnosis codes, particularly superbills and encounter forms, will need to be updated. All staff will need to be educated. Starting implementation early will help to make this process less disruptive and will provide for a more effective and efficient transition.

Chairman: R. Dale Blasier, MD Committee Members: Jeffrey B. Neustadt, MD, Kern Singh, MD, Brandon J. Kambach, MD; Patrick Cahill, MD, Christopher DeWald, MD; Michael P. Chapman, MD, Mathew D. Hepler, MD.