January 16, 2009 — Doctors are getting a two-year reprieve before they’ll have to use the coding system known as ICD-10.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which maintains the U.S. codes for billing and diagnosis, said today it has put the finishing touches on the ICD-10, a new set that will allow for more specificity and precision in the way doctors and hospitals bill insurers for tests, procedures and other types of care. There’s a government fact sheet here.
But some folks, especially doctors, have worried about the cost and complexity of adjusting to the new codes.
Physician-blogger Kevin Pho wrote recently that docs are at the “mercy of ICD coding,” explaining that the daily “coding morass” would get even worse with the more complicated ICD-10. “If you’re looking for a job,” he advised, “the medical coding business is going to be a hot field….”
After receiving more than 3,000 comments on its earlier ICD-10 proposal, the feds now say medical providers will have until Oct. 1, 2013, before they have to use ICD-10, rather than a prior proposal of Oct. 1, 2011. Many comments requested more time to comply, citing costs and the need for training and testing, according to CMS.
ICD-10 has 155,000 codes, a nearly tenfold increase over the current system. The idea is to allow for more detail on patients’ medical records, and to keep up with the many ways medical care evolves each year. One simple example is that the ICD-10 codes will let docs say whether a condition occurred on a patient’s left or right side.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, Health Blog, http://blogs.wsj.com