Know the Difference ICD 9 and ICD 10

As a professional medical coder, you will need to understand how vital your job is for providing a proper diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is needed to screen the general population’s health, correct reimbursement and to ensure that the operation within the facility is running smoothly and efficiently. For the reason mentioned above it is imperative that you have a firm and steadfast understanding of the codes and the transition between the ICD-9 to the ICD-10.

As of October 2013 the ICD-10 code set will permanently replace the ICD-9 code set as the industry wide coding system throughout the U.S. According to the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), while there are some differences between the ICD-10 and the ICD-9, there are also many things that are the same. Some of the three similarities include:

1. Guidelines
2. Conventions
3. Rules

For those that have the ability to code ICD-9-CM will find that the transition to ICD-10 coding system not as difficult, however, there are some key differences that as a coder you will need to be prepared for.

icd 10The American Academy of Professional Coders have note the following as the major ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM differences that should be known and they include:

The soon to be extinct ICD-9-CM coding set is generally made up of codes with 3-5 digits. The changes in the ICD-10 coding set will be alphanumeric codes that will consist of 3-7 digits. The reasoning behind the extended characters is that it will provide an extension on the information provided concerning the type of disease, the severity of the disease and its relation to the anatomy.

The ICD-9-CM will go from 13,600 codes and the ICD-10-CM will have around 69,000.

ICD-10-CM code sets will not just pinpoint a certain disease but how that particular disease manifested.

As the new coding set will impact the way you work, it will also impact the technology and the software that you use.

There are currently some challenges that will exist within the ICD-9-CM coding system. According to the AMA (American Medical Association), one of the major concerns that concern the current coding system is that there is a lack of specific information in the codes themselves. The new ICD-10 coding system takes on the challenge of filling in the gaps in information with coding characters that will increase details provided and the information offered.

There is no more room to add chapters in the ICD-9 coding system, in other words no more codes can be added. So what the ICD-9 coding system has done to add more codes was to add more chapters, and instead of helping the situation it makes it even more difficult for locating codes. In the new system the code characters are longer which will allow the number of codes for use in the future.

In short, the ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes will mean the following:

  • More details
  • Changes in terminology
  • Expanded concepts (laterality, injuries and other related factors)

To prepare yourself with the ICD-10 is that you will need to be prepared and the sooner you prepare the better, you can allow yourself more time to get ahold of necessary changes and your marketability to the health care facilities and doctors that are looking for qualified individuals that are trained in the ICD-10 coding system.

You may also consider taking an online course that will specialize in training you about the new changes in the ICD-9 coding system. As a current professional billing and coder you will enjoy having the flexibility of being able to work and still further their education. So get started as soon as you are able because before you know it October 2013 will be here.