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Impact of Delayed ICD-10 Implementation

Coding Corner

The information provided here applies to Medicare coding. Be sure to check with your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for additional information and clarification on these and other items. You should also contact your local insurance carriers to determine if private insurers follow Medicare's lead on all coding matters.

Impact of Delayed ICD-10 Implementation
Congress’ vote to delay the implementation of ICD-10 came as a surprise to many. The one year delay in its implementation will create headaches and additional costs to physician practices. However, it also creates opportunity. As a result of the delayed implementation, physicians now have 18 months to prepare. What should offices do? Keep up the forward momentum in your preparations because there is still much to do to achieve diagnostic coding success. In working with physicians learning ICD-10, educators see significant room for improvement in their ICD-9 coding knowledge.The specificity available in the ICD-9 system is underutilized. This makes the gap between ICD-9 and ICD-10 larger and the transition more difficult. With the extra time, providers can learn how to better utilize the ICD-9 system. Understanding the specificity needed in diagnostic coding is taking a much-needed step toward compliant coding with specificity today.

Take advantage of the delay and continue with your educational plans with a focus on the specificity and guidelines of ICD-9 for now. Your overall understanding of the process of documentation and code selection will be correct and compliant. This will make the new implementation date one that is easier to work through.