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American Medical Association: Transitioning to ICD-10 should not be delayed

October 05, 2012
Uncategorized By LW Consulting Inc.

The healthcare industry has been changing tremendously in recent years. Along with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the federal government has instituted meaningful use requirements under the HITECH Act. The technological changes have expanded significantly, as more medical providers are adopting health IT systems such as EHRs and e-prescribing software. Mobile health has even become its own industry in the last few years.

However, one of the biggest changes comes in the way of medical coding. Switching to ICD-10 codes means that medical facilities will need to change every patient document and doctors' note to include the updates. This is a major undertaking for hospitals and medical practices.

For instance, with diagnostics alone, the number of codes has spiked from 14,000 to 68,000, according to American Medical News. Providers have until October 1, 2014 to make sure their facility is meeting ICD-10 compliance.

The deadline has recently been pushed back, which has given physicians more time to transition to ICD-10, but many organizations are still wary that most providers will be able to meet ICD-10 compliance by this date.

"Preparation well in advance is necessary, because HHS is being firm that there are no additional delays expected, and no grace period from the ICD-10 deadline," the news source warned. "That could mean, for example, that physicians risk an interruption in their cash flow, because they won't be able to bill for services if they haven't converted to the new codes."

The American Medical Association has provided informational resources for those who need guidance in meeting ICD-10 compliance, including websites, books and workshops.

A hospital consultant can also help a healthcare provider meet ICD-10 compliance and ensure that all systems and staff members have transitioned smoothly to the new medical codes.