Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
ICD-10 Implementation Set for Fall

ICD-10 Implementation Set for Fall

ceo_minute 2015 is the year for nation-wide implementation of ICD-10. The Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) sets the deadline for ICD-10 implementation at Oct. 1, 2015.

ICD-10 stands for the International Statistical Classification of Disease, and the numeral 10 indicates the 10th revision of the codes. This system is produced by the World Health Organization and contains codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances and external causes of injury or disease.

Prior to this year, there have been attempts in the United States to adopt ICD-10, but each time there have been multiple factors contributing to its delay. Currently, there are powerful forces aligned in favor of its adoption, and equally powerful forces that are opposed.

Among the groups that favor its adoption are the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the American Health Information Management Association, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and America's Health Insurance Plans. These groups argue that, “ICD-10 has potential to improve the accuracy of medical billing claims, the overall quality of patient care and safety within medical practices,” according to Kevin McCarthy, NueMD. Additionally, they believe that the D-9 classification system is outdated since it was created during the 1970s.

Along with several state, regional and national medical associations, the American Medical Association opposes the adoption of ICD-10. Their primary opposition is based on financial risk, which is projected to be in a range of $84,000 to $225,000 for small practices, up to $825,000 for mid-sized practices, and into the millions for large practices.

So, what should Texas Tech Physicians do? Certainly, the change to ICD-10 from ICD-9 is profound. ICD-10 code sets allow for a higher level of detail, terminology improvements and expanded descriptions for injuries, laterality, and related factors. However, on the other hand, most nations in the world have already gone to ICD-10. Furthermore, its data mining and research capabilities are rich, a fact to which even the critics admit.

In order to offset our potential risk, I believe we need to prepare for ICD-10 to be implemented this fall. We began training last year, and now is a great time to refresh. We must be like the proverbial little duck – calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.