CMS offers fact sheet explaining ICD-9 to ICD-10 changes

With healthcare providers across the U.S. working like maniacs to meet the upcoming deadline for switching from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding--a closer-than-it-seems October 1, 2013--CMS has extended a helping hand with a new fact sheet explaining key details of the changes that must take place. (Sadly, it's unlikely this advice is going to make the switch any faster or less expensive, but it's always nice to get information straight from the enforcer's mouth.)

The CMS fact sheet offers an overview of the structural differences between the code sets, giving several examples of the far-greater richness the ICD-10 code set provides when describing a patient's condition. For example, it notes that while ICD-9-CM describes "Mechanical complication of other vascular device, implant and graft" with one code (996.1), ICD-10-CM breaks the same general condition into 156 distinct codes, including "Breakdown (mechanical) of aortic (bifurcation) graft (replacement)" and "Displacement of other vascular grafts."

It also lists a dozen recommendations for planning implementations of ICD-10, including identifying stakeholders, assessing the impact of the switchover, developing education and training plans for employees at all levels, and developing an IT systems change implementation with testing and "go-live" dates.

To review the fact sheet:
- download it (.pdf) from CMS

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