ICD-10 Code Set to Replace ICD-9
On April 1, 2014, the President signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which had passed the House on March 27 and the Senate on March 31. While the primary focus of the law is to provide a temporary patch to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for physician payment, Section 212 establishes a delay for the implementation of ICD-10. The language states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) may not adopt the ICD-10 code sets prior to October 1, 2015.
While the AMA has advocated against ICD-10, it was not the source of the inclusion of a delay in this law. The AMA spoke out against the proposed legislation before it was passed due do its opposition to a temporary fix for the SGR. Dr. Hoven, AMA President, stated, “The AMA and other physician organizations strongly agree that while a delay in ICD-10 implementation provides welcomed temporary relief, it does not offset the continued harm caused by keeping the SGR formula on life support and further delaying badly needed Medicare physician payment reforms. The AMA remains committed to relieving physicians of the crushing administrative burdens and practice disruptions that are anticipated during the scheduled transition to ICD-10.”
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced it expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015. The rule will also require HIPAA covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through September 30, 2015.
AMA Releases Updated ICD-10 Physician Cost Impact Report
On Wednesday, February 12, the AMA published a report by Nachimson Associates updating cost data for physicians to comply with ICD-10. The study updates costs from an earlier 2008 study the highlights of which are discussed in a press release. The report found that small practices can expect to spend anywhere between $56,639 to $226,105. The new estimates factor in the costs associated with purchasing new software to accommodate the new codes. Issued in conjunction with the report and press release was a letter to Secretary Sebelius reiterating the AMA’s request that ICD-10 be repealed because it is a costly, unfunded mandate for practicing physicians. While the AMA continues to seek a repeal of ICD-10, it nonetheless remains a federal mandate and physicians are urged to prepare for expected compliance date of October 1, 2015.
The differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10 are significant and physicians and practice management staff need to start educating themselves now about this major change so that they will be able to meet the compliance deadline, which is expected to be October 1, 2015.
ICD-10-CM codes are the ones designated for use in documenting diagnoses. They are 3-7 characters in length and total 68,000, while ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes are 3-5 digits in length and number over 14,000. The ICD-10-PCS are the procedure codes and they are alphanumeric, 7 characters in length, and total approximately 87,000, while ICD-9-CM procedure codes are only 3-4 numbers in length and total approximately 4,000 codes.
Moving to ICD-10 is expected to impact all physicians. Due to the increased number of codes, the change in the number of characters per code, and increased code specificity, this transition will require significant planning, training, software/system upgrades/replacements, as well as other necessary investments.
Before the ICD-10 codes can be used however, physicians and others in the health care community had to transition to use of the new version of HIPAA transaction standards known as 5010 by January 1, 2012, as the current version, 4010, does not accommodate use of the ICD-10 codes.
In 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a one year delay of ICD-10 implementation, which pushed the date back to October 1, 2014. At the time, then AMA Board Chair Steven J. Stack, MD commented, "The AMA appreciates the administration's decision to provide a one year delay in response to AMA advocacy, but we have urged CMS to do more to reduce the regulatory burdens on physician practices so physicians can spend more time with patients."
"This is not the final action on this issue. In the rule, the administration stated its commitment to ‘engage stakeholders on a wide variety of ICD-10 implementation issues, including reduction of burden on physician practices'."
Since then, the AMA has taken many steps with the Administration to address physician concerns with ICD-10 and the multiple reporting programs and burdens associated with them, in greater depth.
The AMA continues to advocate to CMS that robust end-to-end testing needs to occur well in advance of the compliance deadline and with as many physician practices as possible. Testing is the best action the industry can take to ensure that claims will process without problems after the switch to ICD-10.
Medicare had planned to do limited end-to-end testing in July 2014, but as a result of the delay, they have canceled this testing. They have announced that end-to-end testing will be available in 2015.
Medicare recently announced the results of "acknowledgement" testing it completed in March. Acknowledgement testing tests the ability of the claim to make it through the "front door," but does not test how the claim will process and what the reimbursement will be.
Testers submitted more than 127,000 claims with ICD-10 codes to the Medicare Fee-for-service (FFS) claims systems and received electronic acknowledgements confirming that their claims were accepted. Approximately 2,600 participating providers, suppliers, billing companies and clearinghouses participated in the testing week, representing about five percent of all submitters.
Nationally, 89 percent of the test claims were accepted without any issues, with some regions reporting acceptance rates as high as 99 percent. The normal FFS Medicare claims acceptance rates average 95-98 percent. Testing did not identify any issues with the Medicare FFS claims systems.
Medicare continues to update the National Coverage Determinations (NCD) and Local Coverage Determinations (LCD). MLN Matters #8691 provides information on recent changes to 29 NCDs.
For LCDs, a list of LCDs converted to ICD-10 is available on the LCDs by Contractor Index. Use the scroll box on the index to select your MAC and use the "Submit" button to view a list of states that the specified MAC services. You can then select your MAC name from the table to view the future translated LCDs.
Partial Code Freeze Prior to ICD-10 Implementation Extended under Recent Delay
Both the ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets are currently under a partial freeze during the implementation of ICD-10. The recent delay in the implementation date of ICD-10 to what is expected to be October 1, 2015 has also extended the partial freeze.With the expected new compliance date of October 1, 2015, the partial code freeze will continue through October 1, 2015. Regular updates to ICD-10 will begin on October 1, 2016, one year after the implementation deadline. No updates will be made to ICD-9 after October 1, 2015, as the code set will no longer be valid.
The ICD-9-CM Coordination & Maintenance Committee Meeting initiated the partial freeze in 2010. The ICD-9 Coordination & Maintenance Committee continues to meet twice a year during the freeze. At these meetings the public will be allowed to comment on whether or not requests for new diagnosis and procedure codes should be created based on the need to capture new technology or disease. Any code requests that do not meet the criteria will be evaluated for implementation within ICD-10 on or after Oct. 1, 2016, once the partial freeze is ended.
What is “ICD-10”?
“ICD-10” is the abbreviated way to refer to the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) and International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-PCS).
Explain the difference between ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.
ICD-10-CM is the diagnosis code set that will be replacing ICD-9-CM Volumes 1 and 2. ICD-10-CM will be used to report diagnoses in all clinical settings. ICD-10-PCS is the procedure code set that will be replacing ICD-9-CM Volume 3. ICD-10-PCS will be used to report hospital inpatient procedures only.
Will ICD-10-PCS replace CPT®?
No. ICD-10-PCS will be used to report hospital inpatient procedures only. The Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) will continue to be used to report services and procedures in outpatient and office settings.
Do I have to upgrade to ICD-10?
Yes. The conversion to ICD-10 is a HIPAA code set requirement. Providers, including physicians, are HIPAA “covered entities”, which means that you must comply with the HIPAA requirements.
Who else has to upgrade to ICD-10?
Health care clearinghouses and payers are also HIPAA covered entities, so they are required to convert to ICD-10 as well.
I thought HIPAA code set standards only applied to the HIPAA electronic transactions. What if I don’t use the HIPAA electronic transactions?
It is correct that HIPAA code set requirements apply only to the HIPAA electronic transactions. But, it would be much too burdensome on the industry to use ICD-10 in electronic transactions and ICD-9 in manual transactions. Payers are expected to require ICD-10 codes be used in other transactions, such as on paper, through a dedicated fax machine, or via the phone.
Why is ICD-9 being replaced?
The ICD-9 code set is over 30 years old and has become outdated. It is no longer considered usable for today’s treatment, reporting, and payment processes. It does not reflect advances in medical technology and knowledge. In addition, the format limits the ability to expand the code set and add new codes.
The ICD-10 code set reflects advances in medicine and uses current medical terminology. The code format is expanded, which means that it has the ability to include greater detail within the code. The greater detail means that the code can provide more specific information about the diagnosis. The ICD-10 code set is also more flexible for expansion and including new technologies and diagnoses. The change, however, is expected to be disruptive for physicians during the transition and you are urged to begin preparing now.
When do I have to convert to ICD-10?
All services and discharges on or after the compliance date must be coded using the ICD-10 code set. The compliance date is expected to be October 1, 2015. The necessary system and workflow changes need to be in place by the compliance date in order for you to send and receive the ICD-10 codes.
What if I’m not ready by the compliance deadline?
Any ICD-9 codes used in transactions for services or discharges on or after the compliance date will be rejected as non-compliant and the transactions will not be processed. You will have disruptions in your transactions being processed and receipt of your payments. Physicians are urged to set up a line of credit to mitigate any cash flow interruptions that may occur.
What do I need to do now to prepare for the conversion to ICD-10?
There are several steps you need to take to prepare for the conversion to ICD-10.
- Begin by talking to your practice management or software vendor. Ask if the necessary software updates will be installed with your upgrades for the Version 005010 (5010) HIPAA transactions. If you do not use the HIPAA transactions, determine when they will have your software updates available and when they will be installed in your system. Your conversion to ICD-10 will be heavily dependent on when your vendor has the upgrades completed and when they can be installed in your system.
- Talk to your clearinghouses, billing service, and payers. Determine when they will have their ICD-10 upgrades completed and when you can begin testing with them.
- Identify the changes that you need to make in your practice to convert to the ICD-10 code set. For example, your diagnosis coding tools, “super bills”, public health reporting tools, etc.
- Identify staff training needs and complete the necessary training.
- Conduct internal testing to make sure you can generate transactions you send with the ICD-10 codes.
- Conduct external testing with your clearinghouses and payers to make sure you can send and receive transactions with the ICD-10 codes.
AMA offers planning tools to increase ICD-10 understanding and readiness.
- ICD-10 Action Plan: Your 12-Step Transition Plan for ICD-10
Practice Tool written by the AMA CPT Medical Informatics Department
With the recent delay, implementation of ICD-10-CM is expected to be October 1, 2015. But transitioning to ICD-10 needs to begin now. This ICD-10 practice tool offers 12 critical steps along with tables and forms to help you make a smooth transition. A short glossary and list of AMA ICD-10 resources are also included. Release date: September 4, 2012.
- What You Need to Know for the Upcoming Transition to ICD-10-CM
White Paper written by the AMA CPT Medical Informatics Department
ICD-10 represents a significant improvement over ICD-9, but structural differences make converting complex. Learn more about this as well as code set differences, reasons for the conversion, crosswalking concerns, and transition tips.
Release date: June 1, 2012.
AMA testimony to the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’ Subcommittee on standards regarding the planning and implementation of the updated HIPAA transactions and code sets, December 10, 2009
- New Article on Preparing for ICD-10
"The Current State of ICD-10 & Preparing for It" was published in the November/December 2013 Missouri Medicine Journal. The article provides an overview of ICD-10, the AMA’s advocacy against it, and information on how to prepare for it. The article is posted on here with the permission of the Missouri State Medical Association.
- AMA White Paper on ICD-10, EHRs, and Administrative Simplification
The AMA has published a white paper that discusses the promised benefits of ICD-10, EHRs, and administrative simplification. The paper describes the initial regulations and anticipated gains from them. Recommendations on what practices can do to achieve these benefits are also provided.
Tip Sheet Series
- Complete an ICD-10 Impact Assessment
- Talk to Your Vendors about ICD-10
- Assess Your Documentation for ICD-10
- Determine Your Training Needs
- Talk to Your Payers about ICD-10 Reimbursement Changes
- Testing Your ICD-10 Readiness
- Prevent Cash Flow Interruptions with ICD-10
5010 and ICD-10: What They Are and How to Prepare for Them Watch this archived webinar that provides an overview on implementing the HIPAA 5010 transactions and ICD-10.
ICD-10 Fact Sheet Series
- #1 ICD-10 101: What It Is and Why It's Being Implemented
- #2 The Differences Between ICD-9 and ICD-10
- #3 ICD-10 Timeline: Meeting the Compliance Date
- #4 Implementing ICD-10 in Your Practice - Part 1
- #5 Implementing ICD-10 in Your Practice - Part 2
- #6 Testing your Readiness for ICD-10
- #7 Crosswalking Between ICD-9 and ICD-10
- #8 Partial Freeze to ICD-9 and ICD-10 for Smoother Transition
- Nov. 11, 2013 Wire article: Had enough turkey? ICD-10 serves up multiple codes related to the holiday fowl
- AMA calls on Congress to block ICD-10 mandate on doctors - February 6, 2012
- CMS chief signals delay in ICD-10 transition - February 14, 2012
- Doctors shift focus to compliance as ICD-10 deadline set - September 10, 2012
- CMS Calls for Transition to ICD-10 codes in 3 Years - September 8, 2008
- Reprieve on ICD-10 - February 9, 2009
- AMA Training & Events – Choose from a variety of live event training, online modular training or pre-recorded webinar options to aid in your understanding of ICD-10
- AMA Print Resources – AMA publishes ICD-10 codebook as well as supplementary ICD-10 titles that cover topics like documentation, anatomy and physiology, mapping, and correct coding
- AMA Data Files – Begin testing your electronic systems now with an ICD-10 Data File created by the AMA
ICD-10 Implementation Tracking Tool - This tool is available to non-AAPC members. You just need to create an account to access the tracking tool and activities checklists. Please note: This link takes you out of the AMA Web site.
- Road to ICD-10 – Free tools and webcasts specific for helping small physician practices implement ICD-10.
- Online ICD-10 Implementation Guide
- Small and Medium Practices: ICD-10 Transition Checklist
- Large Practices: ICD-10 Transition Checklist
- ICD-10 Timeline for Small-Medium Practices
- ICD-10 Timeline for Large Practices
- ICD-10 Implementation Guide for Small and Medium Practices
- ICD-10 Implementation Guide for Large Practices
- ICD-10 Basics for Medical Practices
- ICD-10 Transition: An Introduction
- Talking to Your Vendors About ICD-10: Tips for Medical Practices
- FAQs: ICD-10 Transition Basics
- ICD-10 Basics for Small and Rural Practices