Friday, February 28, 2014

Be Prepared For Slower, More Error Prone and More Problematic Billing in the Fall of 2014

  • The present American Medical Code System, known as ICD-9 will change to ICD-10 in October of 2014.  
  • There are 14,000 codes in ICD-9.  The new manual explodes that code set to 68,000.  
    • The codes in ICD-10 seem absurd in their minutia, filled with designations for seemingly impossible situations.
    • There are different numbers for getting struck or bitten by a turkey (W61.42 or W61.43). There are codes for injuries caused by squirrels (W53.21) and getting hit by a motor vehicle while riding an animal (V80.919), spending too much time in a deep-freeze refrigerator (W93.2) and a large toe that has gone unexpectedly missing (Z89.419).  
  • Hospitals and insurers have fought the new codes, calling them a massive regulatory burden that will cost them billions of dollars to implement without improving patient care. For years, their protests succeeded: The federal government has twice delayed implementing the new code set, which was initially set for 2008.  
  • When Canada adopted ICD-10 in 2001, one study of a Toronto hospital system showed that productivity fell by half. Before ICD-10, medical coders could get through 4.62 charts in an hour. Right after the transition, that fell to 2.15 charts per hour.
  • Nobody in the medical community is quite sure what will happen on Oct. 1, when the federal government flips the switch on this new system.