News: Deadline looms for new coding system

October 3, 2008

The Department of Health and Human Services will require health care providers to use its set of new diagnosis and procedure codes known as ICD-10 by October 2011.

Ready to switch to the new International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code sets? If not, you'd better hurry. In August, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would update these universal health-care diagnosis and procedure codes with the expanded ICD-10 set and will require providers to fully implement them by October 11, 2011. The news seemed to catch physician groups off guard. The Medical Group Management Association calls the deadline "unworkable," warning that "ICD-10 contains 10 times the number of codes as ICD-9" and will require major changes for medical groups, hospitals, and other health-care facilities. The overhaul not only affects practices, but insurance companies and claims processors as well. "It's like physician payment reform back in the '90s, which was a huge undertaking and just devastating to practices," says Virginia Martin, vice president of operations for Reed Medical Systems in Monroe, Michigan, and a certified coding specialist.

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