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Feeling Better About ICD-10

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 13, 2012
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8. Precision in reporting complications from medical devices
In the current system, a patient death or serious disability due to a device malfunction or breakdown is classified as 996.1: Mechanical complication of other vascular device, implant, and graft.

ICD-10 allows providers to be much more precise in describing the nature of the malfunction. The new code differentiates whether there is a mechanical breakdown of a vascular dialysis catheter, an arteriovenous shunt, a balloon counterpulsation device, or an umbrella device.

9. Creates jobs
Conversion to ICD-10 will create jobs for coders and trainers, many of whom may transition from other jobs soon to be cut to reduce costs. While this may not directly improve quality, fewer lost jobs may lessen the toll on employee morale that major layoffs could provoke. And employee morale can be linked to quality and patient experience scores.

10. Aligns with EHR
The transition to ICD-10 will ensure that electronic medical records, value-based purchasing metrics, and meaningful use incentive programs speak the same language.

Feel better? I hope so. After all, ICD-10 is supposed to be all about quality of care, isn't it?

This article appears in the January 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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