On October 1, Texas Children’s will join other hospitals across the nation and switch from ICD-9 code sets to the expanded ICD-10 code sets to report patients’ diagnoses and procedures. For the first time in more than 30 years, this transition to ICD-10 will streamline the management of health care records to ensure even better outcomes for our patients.
The implementation of the ICD-10 coding system was delayed last year after Congress passed a new law to postpone cuts to the Medicare reimbursement rate for physicians. President Barack Obama recently signed legislation on April 16 that permanently replaces Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula, putting a rest to the likelihood of another ICD-10 delay.
For more than a year, Texas Children’s ICD-10 preparedness teams have worked diligently to ensure all employees are prepared for the mandatory October 1 conversion. The most important action we can take is to educate ourselves and be ready for the transition, as it will impact physicians, coders, billing staff, nurses, labs, front desk and many other areas.
“We believe that communicating the change clearly and consistently will help ensure a smooth transition,” said Texas Children’s Chief Safety Officer Dr. Joan Shook. “Some of the tools we’ve developed – like a fact sheet that answers frequently asked questions – are specific to this change, while other times we use existing hospital and provider publications to keep everyone informed.”
Unlike the ICD-10 coding system, the 30-year-old ICD-9 codes use outdated terminology, lack specificity and is running out of room as hundreds of new diagnosis codes are submitted annually. The United States is the only country that uses ICD-9, and the switch to ICD-10 will enable more accurate comparisons of health care data with other countries.
With more than 140,000 diagnostic and procedural codes, ICD-10 will give our physicians, researchers and others a more accurate picture of our patient care by allowing greater specificity and precision in describing a patient’s diagnosis and classifying inpatient procedures.
ICD-10’s more expansive coding system also will help health care providers better track data to measure the quality and safety of care, process claims for reimbursement, and improve clinical, financial and administrative performance.
The two roles most affected by the ICD-10 conversion are physicians and coders. Texas Children’s has partnered with Baylor College of Medicine to provide e-learning videos for physicians to explain how the new coding system will affect their specialties. Coding staff have completed “boot-camps” to learn about the ICD-10 codes and have begun coding some accounts in ICD-9 and ICD-10. For others, the ICD-education team has prepared an area-specific curriculum that is available online through Healthstream.
The deadline for Physician providers to complete required online training is Tuesday, September 1. Click here to access the e-learning modules specific to your specialty.
“We want to ensure our providers are prepared as the ICD-10 implementation moves forward,” said Texas Children’s Director of Health Information Management Austin Frazier. “The latest education completion statistic is 10 percent, but our goal is to achieve 100 percent compliance by September 1.”
Texas Children’s continues to train its staff on the ICD-10 system and make system upgrades to the hospital’s electronic health record and other ancillary systems to ensure it is compatible with the ICD-10 code set.
Below are links to a quick fact sheet and helpful sites with basic information on ICD-10 to see how this change will impact your own medical record documentation.