ICD-10 Changes Are On The Way

By Mike Farmer & Jane Verduin

The United States will be updating the ICD codes to the ICD-10 version starting October 1, 2013. While other countries have been using ICD-10 as far back as 1994, the United States has delayed the transition until now. The new codes will increase the specificity required in reporting, by increasing the 17,000 codes currently used up to 140,000. The means that the doctors will have to be very specific in their documentation and the billers will have to understand more anatomical and medical terms in order to determine which billing code to use.

One of the first steps in the conversion to ICD-10 is updating to the 5010 HIPAA standard for submitting claims. This provides the infrastructure for the new ICD-10 codes to be submitted. Diagnosis codes in the ICD-9 are three to five characters in length, which is what the current 4010 electronic file format was designed around. In ICD-10, the length of diagnosis codes will be up to seven characters, so an upgrade to HIPAA 5010 electronic file format is necessary. Electronic claims generated in your office or by your billing company will need to accommodated this upgraded format.

Should you have any questions or need any guidance during this transition, please contact Mike Farmer at 231-798-6503.