One practical way to prepare your practice for the Oct. 1, 2014, transition to more detailed ICD-10 codes is to analyze how you currently use ICD-9 codes. Although you've probably memorized the ICD-9 codes you work with most frequently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends that you conduct a more structured review.
CMS suggests the following six actions to help you prepare for ICD-10:
- Identify the diagnoses you most frequently code.
- Use an ICD-10 code book or software tool to look up those diagnoses and review the potential new codes for the best match.
- Understand how your clinicians communicate with your coding/billing colleagues. What words do they use to describe their routine protocols to coders/billers?
- Identify how your practice will enter key words, medical notes and content in medical records so the protocols are clearly communicated.
- Discuss changes that may occur in clinical documentation to support ICD-10 code selection.
- As you begin testing ICD-10 in the coming year, share your ICD-10 code interpretation and selections with your colleagues to minimize the learning curve and avoid miscommunications.
"You may notice multiple ICD-10 codes for a given ICD-9 code. The ICD-10 code structure accommodates more information than the ICD-9 structure, for added detail," CMS noted in an electronic update issued Dec. 6. "The result is a more complete picture of complex medical conditions that your clinical documentation will need to capture."
CMS advises that, in order to take advantage of the power of ICD-10, your practice will need to:
- Look at how ICD-10 codes differ from ICD-9 codes for your most common diagnoses.
- Identify what additional documentation or descriptive language clinicians might need to include to ensure selection of the correct ICD-10 code.
You can access other recent ICD-10 email updates from CMS here.
Click here to access additional information and resources on CMS' ICD-10 website.