This is it. I have been talking about it for some time now. This is the year of the transition to ICD-10. And it’s a huge mandatory change with an increase from 13,000 to approximately 68,000 medical billing codes – a
423 percent increase in the number of diagnostic treatment codes.
It’s easy to put off preparation for the switchover, but I can tell you if you are not ready, the consequences of lost time and revenue could significantly impact your practice. And if you are still using paper charts, the costs will be much worse. By now, you have no doubt read or heard about solutions for handling the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10. However, most are unsatisfactory when it comes to efficiency because:
- The increase in the amount of codes isn’t the only change. The complexity of the codes will also increase. ICD-9 codes are largely numeric and contain three to five digits. ICD-10 codes are alphanumeric and contain three to seven digits.
- Mapping or translation from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is not easy or accurate because the code sets are different. You still may be stuck sorting through long lists of codes, even if you have an electronic medical records (EMR) system.
- Only 5 percent of ICD-10 codes match exactly to ICD-9 codes.
Most EMR system vendors will tell you they will be ready to handle ICD-10, but that could imply that they are using mapping, translation tools, or “crosswalks” rather than having built-in, intelligent coding that generates a bill effortlessly right along with your exam notes. I have seen only one EMR system that can do the latter: EMA™, the Electronic Medical Assistant® with ICD-10 coding so intuitive and smart – so out ahead of the crowd – that it’s patent pending.
Generating the revenue you deserve for the patients you treat depends on the accuracy of medical coding and billing. Even if you think you are not in the market for a new EMR system, I encourage you to schedule a demonstration of how ICD-10 works in EMA Dermatology™. No sorting through long lists of codes. Just fast and accurate coding – naturally. It’s the perfect approach to ICD-10.
Inga Ellzey, RHIA, MPA, CDC
President & Owner
Inga Ellzey Practice Group, Inc.