The age of ICD-10 is almost upon us after having been in the works since 1983. The difference between ICD-9 and ICD-10 is substantial and there is no doubt that specialized training is in order for most lines of business dealing with medical coding. In many ways, folks need to forget everything they knew about medical coding and start from scratch. Will you be ready?
The first benefit of focused ICD-10 training is to ensure that the entire staff is brought up to speed when it comes to coding in general. Many offices fail to do continual and consistent training to make sure that their staff knows all the intricacies of coding. The advent of ICD-10 is a very opportune time to make sure that those that have been falling behind and are too hesitant to ask for help are now fully trained. This includes staff that may not have received any ICD training in the first place, such as receptionist, schedulers, billing clerks, A/R staff, phlebotomists, unit clerks and other medical paraprofessionals.
Another reason that specialized coding training is so critical to all medical related businesses is that the difference between ICD-9 and ICD-10 is quite significant. Not only has the number of available codes increased considerably, but the actual way in which codes are formatted has changed. This means that greater detail and specificity will be required when it comes to coding individual medical conditions. Only an individual that has been properly trained in ICD-10 will be able to code at an optimal level to reap maximum monetary benefit for a medical practice, hospital or other healthcare professional. Additionally, proper coding will ensure that claims are not rejected by payors and the receivables of any medical business remain comfortably consistent.
Also, some individuals that have been mentally trained that Hypertension always equals 401.9, V70.0 is a General Physical and 311.0 is the code for Depression will need to learn new and more detailed methods for coding these conditions. This will prove to be essential when matching the true condition to the proper ICD code. In many ways, ICD-10 is nothing like ICD-9. Sample ICD-10 codes, which may look quite foreign to some medical professionals, include R31.0 for Gross Hematuria, B01.2 for Varicella Pneumonia and O30.003 for Twin Pregnancy, Unspecified, Third Trimester. Some of the highlights of the differences between the two coding systems are:
- Codes are now 3-7 characters in length
- Digit one is always alpha with ICD-10; Digits 2 and 3 are numeric; Digits 4-7 may be alpha or numeric
- The system is flexible enough to add new codes at any time
- There is a heightened system of specification and detail with ICD-10
- Reflects current usage of medical terminology
Finally, one of the most essential reasons that specialized ICD-10 is a necessity for all healthcare related businesses is because you do not want your staff left behind as the rest of the medical community is brought up to speed. If your staff has to fumble their way through a new coding system without proper training, you will be wasting valuable works hours. This will not be an effective use of time and productivity as well as patient satisfaction will suffer.