Med-Certification, a leader in medical career training courses, talked earlier this year about how officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) declared that Oct. 1, 2013 would be the firm implementation date for ICD-10, the newest iteration of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) coding system used on medical claim forms. The question then became how to handle the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, especially as it relates to updating each set of codes during the transition.

CMS officials proposed a “limited freeze,” under which the last regular, annual updates to both ICD-9 and ICD-10 would be made on Oct. 1, 2011. A year later, on Oct. 1, 2012, limited changes would be made to both sets of codes to account for new technologies and diseases.
The next year, on Oct. 1, 2013, limited changes would again be made — but only to the ICD-10 codes, as ICD-9 would be phased out. One year later, on Oct. 1, 2014, the regular annual update to ICD-10 would begin (though subsequently it was again delayed to 2015).

In September, the ICD-9-CM Coordination & Maintenance Committee announced that the “limited freeze” proposal had been accepted, paving the way for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 to begin in earnest.

Although ICD-10 codes differ from ICD-9 in several ways — such as the number of characters used in each code and the use of an “x” placeholder — the biggest difference between the two coding sets is the number of codes involved. Because they are more complex and detailed, ICD-10 includes 69,099 diagnosis codes compared with only 14,315 ICD-9 codes.

So far, medical coding schools and providers’ progress on switching over to the new codes has been varied.  Mostly, people involved are intimidated by the tremendous challenge of the conversion.  A major consideration is that MORE CODERS WILL BE NEEDED since the coding process will be magnified significantly, requiring far more codes and detail than were in the ICD-9 process.

Hand-in-hand with preparing for ICD-10 is getting ready for the new 5010 protocol for submitting electronic claims to Medicare and other payers. The 5010 protocol, which goes into full effect on Jan. 1, 2012, replaces the current protocol, known as 4010.

Physicians and other providers who will be using the 5010 protocol have until the end of December to complete internal testing if they want to achieve Level 1 compliance with the new format,   Providers and coders (and wannabees) who have questions about either ICD-10 or the 5010 protocol can find resources at the CMS website — CMS.GOV/ICD10/   is training available for those who wish to learn ICD-10 coding.  Med-certification is way ahead of the game and has added the full medical coding course to include ICD-10 and provide ICD-10 certification too. Read about it here:
Complete Coding Course