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ICD-10: One Year Later

A little more than one year ago, we published an article in this space about the health care industry’s readiness for ICD-10. The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) went live on October 1, 2015, after several years of being
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A little more than one year ago, we published an article about the health care industry’s readiness for ICD-10.  The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) went live on October 1, 2015, after several years of being delayed.  Providers were given 12 months of flexibility in implementation because almost half weren’t on target to meet the implementation deadline.  So here we are 12 months later, and by all accounts, the transition to ICD-10 has been a lot smoother than expected.

Surveys conducted after the October 2015 implementation showed that the implementation did not cause there to be any major provider issues other than the anticipated reduction in coding workflows.  However, most providers have regained pre-implementation productivity levels with equivalent accuracies.  Another concern expressed by providers before ICD-10 implementation was that they would experience major disruptions in revenue caused by increased claim denials and clinical documentation errors.  Just as the Y2K hysteria fizzled in late 1999, the concerns turned out to be unfounded.

Now that the “honeymoon” is over and the ICD-10 period of flexibility has expired, a new challenge is being introduced to the system.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently added 5,500 codes to the system, bringing the total number of available codes to almost 92,000.  The updates won’t be impacting everyone as 97% of the new codes are specifically related to the cardiovascular system.

The updated codes are a firm reminder that ICD-10 training should never be considered a “one-time” event.  CMS is encouraging providers to periodically visit the website Roadto10.org for the latest information and valuable resources designed to help providers manage ICD-10 and any future developments.

Although the past year has been chaotic, many organizations are touting the long-term benefits they have experienced after navigating the ICD-10 implementation.  Many organizations feel that their coders and documentation specialists have gained invaluable knowledge and are even better prepared for future changes.  Additionally, organizations have benefited from gaining critical project management experience, learned skills that are translating into new projects and initiatives.

Has your job or organization been impacted by the implementation of ICD-10?  Please share your story in the comment section below or stop by our Facebook page and leave us a comment.