“The transition from ICD9s to ICD10s is going to be disastrous for healthcare!” 

This was the statement heard so often for so long, that everyone in the industry was terrified about the transition from ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes and overjoyed every time a delay in implementation was announced.  And now that the delays have stopped and ICD-10s were implemented on October 1, 2015?  No disasters, no monumental issues.  Because of the hard work put in by the medical personnel effected by the change, it hasgone incredibly smoothly

.ICD-10 transition

Sure, knowing the codes inside and out without having to double check every diagnosis is no longer the norm.  But no one knew the ICD9 codes when they were implemented in 1979.  Learning the ICD10 codes seems like a gargantuan task when you realize that there are about 68,000 codes, but most practices focus on treating the same types of patients day in and day out, so they are truly only learning a fraction of the codes.  A cardiologist will have to learn several more codes for atherosclerosis, but these codes will help him, and any provider looking at the diagnosis in the future, make a more informed decision regarding the plan of care for the patient.  It is also very unlikely that that same physician will need to know that the ICD10 code W56.22xA means “Struck by orca, initial encounter.”

The transition was eased when CMS announced that they would have a one year leniency period where providers did not have to be 100% spot on with the new codes. Many insurers provided the same grace period, but others did not.  All insurers not following CMS’s lead was the cause of some stress, but still no disasters, no monumental issues. 

As with any change in coding there was a period when coders needed to be familiar with both because of dates of service surrounding the implementation.  This created some frustration and some extra work, but still no disasters, no monumental issues. The claims were fixed and filed and for the most part everything went fairly smoothly.

The ICD 10 implementation seemed ominous, and was sure to drag healthcare in this country to a standstill.  But, it did not.  This is a testament to the hard work put in by the physicians, nursing staffs, medical coders and billers all working diligently to ensure that claims would be processed as needed without sacrificing the level of care to the patients.

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