2018 ICD-10 Code Changes Are Now in Effect – Are You Ready?

Posted on  October 19, 2017


ICD-10 is the system used for coding the process of symptoms, diagnoses, and treatment. Before 2017, providers functioned using ICD-9. The systems are similar but the main difference in ICD-10 is that it has almost 22 times more procedure codes and 5 times the diagnostic codes than ICD-9. This allows for more precise tracking of medical treatment from start to finish and a decrease in coding errors. The 2018 ICD-10 code changes are now in effect. What do these changes include and how will they affect your practice?


Categories with revisions in ICD-10

To help increase accuracy in coding, categories that are receiving ICD-10 code changes are ones such as blindness and low vision, heart failure, and ectopic pregnancy. The increases in coding in these categories help to make sure we understand exactly how a diagnosis came to be and how it was treated.  Categories, where they removed codes, include head injuries and a few others. The category with the most changes was the medical and surgical category with 68,471 code changes. The total number of ICD-10 code changes adds up to 75,789. This will augment the overall accuracy in medical coding.


How do ICD-10 code changes affect your practice?

ICD-10 is already having a direct impact on revenue cycle management and your practice’s clean claims rate. The expectation is that claims error rates will increase 6 to 10 percent with the new code changes. This will increase denial rates by 100 to 200 percent. Due to the lack of training prior to the release of the ICD-10 code changes, error among staff coding could negatively influence your practice, potentially hurting your revenue cycle management.


How can we combat this?

As providers attempt to implement these new changes into their practice, they will continue to run into obstacles. A great way to prevent this plummet in your clean claims rate is to outsource your billing. This will decrease the impact on your overall revenue cycle management. In preparation for the ICD-10 code changes, there are medical billing companies that are ready to handle these changes. By choosing to outsource medical billing, providers can prevent the stress that ICD-10 changes will bring. Providers can save money on training and staffing while keeping their clean claims rate safe.

The 2018 ICD-10 code changes will provide more exact medical coding. They will also help the healthcare industry gain clarity and provide research data for different diagnoses and treatments. While there is a lot to gain overall, there is will be tremendous struggle for the practices implementing the changes.

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