ICD-10: Bracing for the Storm and the Coding Update Freeze

In a recent "Talk Ten Tuesday" webinar sponsored by ICD10monitor, Peggy Hapner, manager of the health information management consulting division at MedLearn; Dee Lang, vice president of produce management and strategy at Precyse Advance Technologies; and Frank Cohen, senior healthcare analyst at the Frank Cohen Group; discussed the status of ICD-10 readiness among providers and how providers should prepare for the upcoming coding update freeze.

ICD-10 is slated to begin on Oct. 1, 2013, and Mr. Cohen says there's a fairly high level of confidence that it is going to happen. However, he and his group have found that planning for ICD-10 and knowledge of ICD-10 is not sufficient for this point in time. He said his group conducted a survey of healthcare professionals, finding that only 38 percent have done any kind of planning. He says it might seem far away, but it will have a substantial negative financial impact as payors could stall payments for four to six months.

"An overwhelming majority of people's knowledge of ICD-10 is basic," Mr. Cohen adds. He says there is a correlation between ICD-10 readiness and practice size, finding that larger practices have higher knowledge of ICD-10 and have more in place to be ready for ICD-10. "Larger practices have more resources in-house to do training," he says.

For those who are ready, or are in the process of becoming ready, for ICD-10, Ms. Lang says Natural Language Comprehension can help a hospital speed up its coding process amidst the looming switch. NLC is computer-assisted coding that aggregates data and establishes the clinical relevance of a patient's story with SNOMED terminology. "NLC can interpret information faster than a human coder," she says. She also adds that NLC can also help a staff's ICD-10 code recognition begin today, as corresponding ICD-10 codes are placed next to ICD-9 codes to help coders familiarize with the new system.

While most providers know about the ICD-10 implementation that needs to be done, Ms. Hapner reiterated they should also be aware of the coding update freeze that will take place Oct. 1, 2011 and run through Oct. 1, 2013. Ms. Hapner says the ICD-9 Coordination and Maintenance Committee decided to implement a partial freeze for ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets. Here is the schedule:
•    Oct. 1, 2011: the last regular coding update.
•    Oct. 1, 2012: limited code updates for both ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets to capture new technologies and new diseases.
•    Oct. 1, 2013: limited code updates for ICD-10 code sets to capture new technologies and new diseases.
•    Oct. 1, 2014: first regular coding update for ICD-10.

Related Articles on ICD-10:

Cut Your Losses: Maintaining Productivity in ICD-10
ICD-10 Implementation Planning Should Start Before Code Set Training
Coordination Key to ICD-10 Switch

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