Medical coding deadline looms: how Baptist is preparing to adopt ICD-10

After years of delays, the federal government will begin requiring all health care providers and insurance companies to begin using a new medical coding system – ICD-10 – on Oct. 1.

What is ICD-10?

ICD-10 is a medical coding system used on insurance claims for all patient encounters. It translates the information found in patient records – signs/symptoms and diagnoses, and hospital procedures/services ‒ into codes, made up of letters and numbers, that mean the same thing all over the world. The codes are turned into computerized data and provide useful information to health care providers, insurance companies, government agencies (including Medicare), and quality review organizations.

Today, American health care organizations use ICD-9, which has been in use for 30 years and is very outdated. Most developed nations have already upgraded to ICD-10 within the past 10 years.

ICD-10 is two separate and very different coding systems:

  • Diagnosis codes (ICD-10-CM), used for all health care encounters
  • Procedure codes (ICD-10-PCS), used only for inpatient procedure coding

The ICD-10 coding systems have no impact on “CPT” codes, which are used in our charging system and for outpatient procedures.

What is Baptist doing to prepare for ICD-10?

Baptist’s finance department has been preparing to adopt ICD-10 for several years, starting with educating medical coders and our physicians, then making sure our electronic health record and other areas of the system were prepared to use the new coding system. Now it’s time for a broader range of Baptist team members to learn about ICD-10.

Who needs to know about ICD-10?

Anyone whose job involves using ICD-9 diagnosis or procedure codes needs to understand ICD-10.
There will be a module in HealthStream titled “ICD-10-CM for Non-Coders” available starting in July 2015. Department management will decide which team members will be required to take the HealthStream module; the module will be optional for others.

Baptist Leader will have additional information on ICD-10 as we approach the Oct. 1 deadline.