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Many Doctors Haven’t Started Dealing With ICD-10 Revision

Tips to ease transition include contacting vendors and health plans, improving documentation

FRIDAY, April 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Most physicians have barely begun to deal with issues relating to documentation associated with the transition to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), according to an article published in Medical Economics.

Although some doctors are concerned about investing in the transition because it may be delayed again, many physicians want to be prepared. Physicians can derive immediate benefits from learning how to document for ICD-10 now; improved documentation will be reflected in quality and outcome metrics and is likely to increase reimbursement.

According to the article, although the number of codes will increase almost five-fold in ICD-10, 78 percent of ICD-9 codes map one-to-one with an ICD-10 code, meaning that they do not require any additional documentation. About half of the ICD-10 codes that do not have ICD-9 counterparts are related laterally. Many codes are “external cause reporting” codes, such as what caused a particular injury. New codes that must be supported with documentation include those related to linked conditions, new diseases, and musculoskeletal conditions. Those who code must learn the details of ICD-10 coding that apply to their specialty.

Tips for successful transition to ICD-10 include taking a financial snapshot of the practice to determine what will be needed if there is a major problem with reimbursements; gathering coding data and identifying diagnostic patterns; contacting vendors and health plans about their ICD-10 readiness; improving documentation; and beginning testing ICD-10.

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