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ICD-10 Implementation

By now, you probably know the basic history behind ICD-10: Many years ago, the World Health Organization grew weary of a static code set, incapable of expanding. So they updated the International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision (ICD-9) codes and replaced them with the 10th revision (ICD-10) codes to create a classification system for morbidity and mortality using greater specificity. Let’s face it, the ICD-9 code set was old, dating back to 1979 (think rotary dial telephones and stovetop popcorn), and needed a serious overhaul.

ICD-10 Implementation is Inevitable

Switch to present day: For years, 99 countries have used ICD-10 codes to classify morbidity, and 138 countries have used ICD-10 codes to classify mortality. Several countries got creative and developed their own unique versions of ICD-10 codes, including Germany, which came up with the ICD-10-GM (German Modification) code set.  CMS jumped on the bandwagon to create the ICD-10-CM (Clinical Modification) code set with 68,000 codes to better track and classify diseases, conditions, and injuries, compared to only 13,000 codes in ICD-9-CM.  The U.S. also created the ICD-10-PCS (Procedure Coding System) codes for tracking inpatient procedures. But convincing the U.S. healthcare community that the changeover to ICD-10 is unavoidable has been a daunting task.

ICD-10 Training of the Day :

ICD-10 for Keratoconus Swaps Acute for Unstable

Did you know converting ICD-9 to ICD-10 for keratoconus requires you to capture laterality? You’ll see a change in terminology, too.
The ICD-10 code for keratoconus, acute hydrops, in both eyes is H18.623, Keratoconus, unstable, bilateral.



371.62, Keratoconus, acute hydrops H18.629, Keratoconus, unstable, unspecified eye
H18.621, Keratoconus, unstable, right eye
H18.622, Keratoconus, unstable, left eye
H18.623, Keratoconus, unstable, bilateral
  • A note with H18.62- confirms it is appropriate for acute hydrops.
  • For stable cases, use H18.61-, Keratoconus, stable.
  • If you can’t confirm the status, use H18.60-, Keratoconus, unspecified.

ICD-10 Free Webinar

ICD-10 Implementation Date

Oct. 1, 2015, is still the drop-dead ICD-10 transition date from ICD-9 to ICD-10, with no more ICD-10 delays. Don’t land in hot water standing idly by waiting for more delays, even though the proposed/final implementation dates changed four times since 2011. 

In the news: If you’ve been keeping tabs on legislation, you know that there are a number of bills related to ICD-10 under consideration. For instance, one House bill, HR 2247, the ICD-TEN Act, gives Medicare providers and suppliers a safe harbor period after implementation on October 1 to get up to speed on the ICD-10 code set. During an implementation period, Health and Human Services would have to conduct end-to-end testing to ensure systems correctly handle ICD-10 codes. Once testing indicates the system is fully functioning, an additional 18 months would kick in to complete the implementation period. The bill stipulates that Medicare would not be allowed to deny claims containing unspecified or inaccurate subcodes during the implementation period.

Another bill wants to create even bigger changes for ICD-10, but don’t get too excited if you’re watching HR 2126, the Cutting Costly Codes Act, which aims to once again stop ICD-10 in its tracks. The last time this bill was introduced, it fell flat. Although Steven Stack, the incoming president of the American Medical Association, supports the bill, many industry experts suspect it won’t gain enough momentum to make a difference. Delaying your implementation efforts waiting for this bill to pass means you may be throwing your future revenue right out the window.

Top Challenges of ICD-10

Training, training, and more training! You’ve heard the statistics that productivity for coding and billing is expected to drop 40 percent or more with ICD-10.Tackle the ICD-10 implementation with a solid plan for training any staff member involved in coding and claims preparation to ensure productivity doesn’t suffer.
Boost training and ensure productivity:
  • Protect your payments and get started now - Get ready for the real deal, and participate in ICD-10 eLearning specialty training, from anywhere, at your own pace, to get the practice you need – plus earn CEUs.
  • Understand that training is ongoing to keep cash flow steady- Keep up with latest updates to ICD-10 codes and regulations with ICD-10 Coding Alert newsletter and ICD-10 webinars.
  • Automate ICD-10 codes lookup to increase efficiency- ICD-10 Coder is fast, easy, and already mapped to ICD-10 codes, with ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalks. Rapid Coder Charts provide you with the ICD-10 codes for the top diagnoses in your specialty.

ICD-10 Implementation Guideline

Review software/systems and formulate a plan: Take a look at all of the software and systems that will house ICD-10 codes and interface with each other to transmit claim data to payers:

  • Identify the impact to practice management, billing/collections, order entry, and registration systems, along with your electronic health record.
  • Determine the nature of the interfaces and the steps needed to prevent coding, billing, or claims transmission delays.
  • Appoint key team members to oversee the project and processes needed to prepare.
  • Formulate plans for dry runs to test all systems before go-live, and perform post-go-live testing to capture any problems leading to costly revenue losses.
  • Get a contingency plan ready in case something goes wrong (and something always goes wrong).
  • Check out SuperCoder’s tools to help you with the software transition: ICD-10 bridges convert your ICD-9 superbills to an ICD-10 superbills, CMS-1500 and UB-04 claims scrubbers find diagnosis code claims errors before payers deny, data files for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10 to ICD-9 crosswalks keep correct codes at your fingertips, and BoneCoder10 streamlines your ICD-10 coding using just a few simple clicks, saving you time and protecting your revenue.
Don’t go it alone: Shore up help to get you through the rough patches – it’s all hands on deck for the biggest change the healthcare industry has seen in decades! Pull in your resident experts from IT, management, coding, billing, and clinical to determine objectives, identify risks, formulate processes, determine budgets, outline testing, and create testing and implementation schedules. ICD-10 Coding Alert walks you through implementation steps to make your transition complete.

Why Start Today?

ICD-10 is literally right around the corner and won’t be delayed again. You may have heard the frightening statistics: Over 50 percent of providers are still waiting for another delay so they haven’t even started planning, let alone begun ICD-10 training. Don’t risk losing thousands in revenue by being caught off guard when ICD-10 hits. With less than six months to go, you need to get ready now before it’s too late.

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