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ICD-10 Transition Should be Major Focus Now

Greg Freeman, July 22, 2013

"Look at the most reported ICD-9 codes for each physician, and then code those same records in ICD-10," she suggests. "Note what is missing, what information you didn't have to have for ICD-9 but which you will need for ICD-10. Then convey that to the physicians and help them capture that information."

In some cases the additional information can be built into an electronic medical record so that the system prompts the physician for the additional information. Stilley cautions that an audit may reveal physicians and staff do not know the current ICD-9 codes sufficiently, in which case ICD-10 training will be especially important. ICD-10 expands the number of codes to be used but depends in large part on the user already understanding the general guidelines for coding.

"You're going to have a hard time transitioning to ICD-10 if you don't understand the principles behind coding in ICD-9," she says. "For some practices, training on ICD-10 will be an opportunity to improve your overall coding and reimbursement process."

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