January 22, 2014
No laughing matter. We reported last week about funny codes in ICD-10, but many physicians are not laughing. Many fear that the transition to the new coding system will funnel all their resources and ultimately force their practices to close.
While medical office professionals appreciate the level of specificity that ICD-10 offers, many wonder exactly how many of the details are clinically necessary. Some question if it is enough for a physician to know that his or her patient was struck by a turkey, and if it is unnecessary to include that the patient was struck by a wild turkey, first encounter.
On the other hand, many physicians recognize that the additional and specific codes extend further than billing and insurance, but also aid specialty insurance, such as property casualty insurance; workers compensation disputes; and research for clinical trials and to measure quality of care.
Ultimately, however, even though medical office staff understands the benefits of the extra details, many believe that, at this point in time, the costs of transitioning to the new coding system-which include intense training time and substantial amounts of money-outweigh those benefits.
Coming on top of all the other new changes caused by the Affordable Care Act, new HIPAA laws, and EMR, many physician practices believe that this is bad timing to transition to ICD-10. Supportive or not of the new coding system, it will be implemented on October 1st.