Specific Code Changes
The codes in ICD-10 change not just in number (from 13,000 in ICD-9 to more than 68,000 in ICD-10) but also in appearance. The new code set has been expanded from 5 to 7 and uses alphanumeric characters in all positions, not just the first position as in ICD-9.
ICD-10 also brings with it a significant increase in the specificity of the reporting, which allows for more information to be conveyed in a code. The terminology has been brought up to date to reflect the current practice of medicine, creating a more standardized and consistent language throughout the code set. Similarly, in the interest of consolidation, there are now codes that combine diagnoses and symptoms, so that fewer codes need to be reported to completely describe a condition.
No Distinct Mapping
One major point of concern with the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is that there is no simple mapping or translation from the current set of codes to the next. That is to say there are some one-to-one correspondences, but in most cases there are one-to-many, many-to-one, many-to-many or simply no correspondence at all. Of course this is worrisome for state Medicaid agencies set to implement the new set of codes, which are currently conducting studies to determine how exactly coding will change. In the meantime, there are some tables and crosswalks that have been published to help mitigate this potential problem.
The transition to ICD-10 is significant and requires calculated preparation to properly pull off. If you think your practice might need some help making the switch, contact us today.