It’s a date: ICD-10 starts in 2015

After multiple delays, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has set the start date for the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) code set at Oct. 1, 2015. The new coding system will be the first major code set switch in 40 years.

Compared with the previous ICD-9-CM coding version, “the level of detail that is provided for by ICD-10 means researchers and public health officials can better track diseases and health outcomes. ICD-10 reflects improved diagnosis of chronic illness and identifies underlying causes, complications of disease and conditions that contribute to the complexity of a disease. Additionally, ICD-10 captures the severity and stage of diseases such as chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and asthma,” according to a press release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Key goals of the switch to ICD-10 include improved care delivery across provider sites and better ways to manage chronic diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes. “ICD-10 codes will provide better support for patient care and improve disease management, quality measurement and analytics,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the CMS, in a statement. “For patients under the care of multiple providers, ICD-10 can help promote care coordination."

Long-term care (LTC) organizations should ensure that their coders have been adequately trained in the new system well in advance of the switch and that other caregivers are aware that the new system requires different ways of documenting clinical information and conditions, according to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). A roles-based preparation checklist for LTC settings is available on AHIMA’s website.

Electronic health record systems used by LTC also should be evaluated now for their ability to use the ICD-10 terminology, because many of the terms used by the previous ICD-9-CM system will be considered obsolete once the new system deadline occurs, the CMS release states.

ICD-10 originally was set to go into effect in 2011, but its start was delayed multiple times as providers expressed concerns about implementation.

More information about the code set is available on the CMS website.

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