ICD 10 Codes

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ICD 10 Codes

Fall 2008 was exciting, to say the least, with the political change sweeping our country. In the coding world, there was much excitement as well. CMS announced that the final implementation date for the expanded ICD 10 CM (diagnosis) and ICD 10 PCS (procedure) code sets would be October 1, 2011.

In response, many health care organizations around the country protested loudly, saying that this date was too soon and that the cost and time impact of implementing the ICD 10 rules would be overwhelming to our health care system. Continued debate ensued and, earlier this year, CMS postponed the implementation date to October 1, 2013. The October 1, 2013 implementation date is a firm one in other words, ICD 9 codes cannot be used to report services performed after that date. In order to avoid entities from having to maintain the capacity to work with both coding systems after that date, the implementation of crosswalks, mapping and guidelines will enable them to move from ICD 9 codes to ICD 10 codes on and after this date.

The impetus to move to ICD 10 codes comes from many different forces. ICD 9 codes are 30 years old, and are outdated. Many of the diagnostic categories are full and cannot be expanded to add new entries. And, for those categories and diagnoses that do exist, many are not descriptive enough.

Specifically, ICD 9 CM includes about 14,000 diagnosis codes. Under ICD 10 CM, there will be about 68,000 codes. The number of procedure codes will increase from some 3,800 under ICD 9 codes to about 87,000 under ICD 10 codes.

Also, the code structure itself will change. With the current ICD 9 diagnosis codes, each code has three to five digits and most have five because we are obliged to always code to the highest level of specificity. There are 17 distinct chapters in ICD 9 codes, with all characters being numeric (except for supplemental diagnosis codes E and V in which the first character is alpha a
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