The delay of ICD-10 is an opportunity for coders to improve their knowledge of ICD-10 as well as share this knowledge and insight with physicians. Health Data Vision encourages health plans, along with their coding/audit managers, to work together to offer ICD-10 training materials to their internal staff. This will keep everyone concerned knowledgeable and ready for the 2015 implementation date.
A considerable amount of time, effort and money has been spent preparing for ICD-10 preparing for the Oct 1, 2014 implementation date, without extensions or exceptions. Now the implementation date has been extended until at least Oct 1, 2015. We believe that just like any other skill, if you don’t use it you lose it. With the delay in the implementation, for at least another year, coder’s should make efforts to remain proficient. In order to do so, coders must practice. We suggest that health plans, physician offices and coders take advantage of all ICD-10 training resources being offered by industry leaders such as AAPC and AHIMA.
This is the perfect time and opportunity to express the importance of detailed and necessary diagnostic documentation with physicians. ICD-10’s specificity of the reporting comes as a significantly expanded code set, 69,000 compared to 14,000 in ICD-9, and a higher responsibility to be clear in documentation. Coding managers and health plans need to take this additional time to provide physician education on proper documentation necessary for ICD-10.
Please keep in mind that this should not only be left up to the health plan, coders should also step forward and help their physicians’ by offering advice on how to better document their patient visits. The choices will be much more specific and require more detail in the medical record when assigning the appropriate code for the patient’s condition. Training physicians to know their choices now will make the ICD-10 transition easier for all parties involved.
As we all know, change is not easy, but how we react to the change determines how successful we are. Regardless of how we feel about the delay of ICD-10, what we must do is embrace the change, keep preparing ourselves as coders and educate our physicians.