ICD-10 Tips

September 16, 2015

How to Code with ICD-10

If you are in the Medical field in any capacity, then you know that ICD-10 has been a long time coming. With six years of push back, changed dates, and a basic political war between the AMA and the Government, it is finally here!

The official of implementation date was October 1st 2015!

Here are a few ICD-10 tips to keep you calm in what will feel like an ocean full of sharks just waiting to take a big bite out of your trembling hide when you first attempt to code with ICD-10. These tips come from H-imagine Solutions, Re-imagine Healthcare;

  1. First and foremost, stay calm! Staying calm is key to any major change. It’s important to remember that diagnoses, procedures, and coding guidelines have changed every year for decades. Trust your training and know that the transition to ICD-10 is a standard part of your career growth and development.
  1. Avoid assigning ICD-10 codes too hastily and possibly over utilizing the unspecified codes. Be prepared to spend a little more time on assigning the most appropriate codes. Be on the lookout for specificity and laterality. Specificity is by far the most impactful change and affects the documentation required to support the disease processes, types, and locations. A valid code is one that is carried out to the highest level of specificity based on the medical record documentation.
  1. Be prepared for a lag in productivity, but don’t be discouraged. In the beginning, coding in ICD-10 may impact the speed in which you typically code. Ask your employer what the expectations are for overtime and have a clear understanding of how your facility plans to manage backlogs.
  1. Knowing the definitions of each root operation and the intent of the procedure being performed is the key to assigning accurate procedure codes. In order to do this, you need to understand the intended outcome of the procedure.
  1. Rely on your resources. In the final weeks leading up to ICD-10, I recommend earmarking your books to any pages or chapters that you think you might need to reference, so you’ll be ready on day one. This organization will help with your productivity and sanity in the first days of the transition. Keep ICD-10 coding books, Coding Clinics, and references close enough that they can be reached easily when you need them.
  1. Discuss coding scenarios with your team. Using collective experience to solve a problem can help everyone in the ICD-10 environment work more efficiently. Consider scheduling time once a week or so to meet with a small team of managers and coders to discuss any initial obstacles, or documentation practices that need to be addressed quickly.

Most of all on October 1st, remind yourself of this one fact:

I knew how to code yesterday (September 30, 2015) and today is not any different!

Want to learn more about Medical Coding? Visit us at Community Care College. Happy Coding Everyone!