27 Jun Medical Billing and Coding – Assessing the ICD-9/ICD -10 Changeover
The big question has been how is the changeover from ICD-9 codes to ICD-10 codes affected medical coding and billing? The rollout had been planned and delayed for years, as medical coders and billers, doctors and other health professionals, and health insurance providers moved from a system that had 14,000 codes to one that offered 68,000.
This change was much anticipated and many were dreading it, as an increase in botched claims, delayed payments, and a backlog in processing were all predicted. What has the effect been? Actually, to the surprise of many, it’s all been fairly benign.
Processing Seems Fine
As far as anyone can tell, the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 has been fairly seamless, and that’s good news for everyone, including medical billing and coding companies, healthcare providers, insurance companies, and consumers. Industry professionals confirm that all appears to be going well.
Robert Tennant, the health information technology policy director at Medical Group Management Association, who does not believe that the new system really offers any clinical value, has noted that the move to ICD-10 has been much easier than originally thought. Although he also notes, “It’s a little early to do an end-zone dance, however. Give it a few more months, and we’ll see more of the impact.” He had earlier predicted that the rollout would cause problems.
Another industry source, Leslie Narramore, director of reimbursement at the American Gastroenterological Association, said in a discussion with Medscape Medical News, ” It’s gone about as well as we could have hoped.” She added, “It’s more than a yawn, but nobody would say the issues are catastrophic.”
Providers Were Prepared
Why has the ICD-9 to ICD-10 migration, which started on October 1, 2015, been so uneventful? For one thing, doctors, hospitals, and others who had to utilize it, as well as medical coding and billing companies, took their time to prepare for the massive changes. After all, their lifeblood, insurance payments, were at stake with this transition, and they had to be up to snuff to ensure that cash flow would not be interrupted in a major way.
Being Up-To-Date Essential
These days when it comes to medical coding and billing the landscape is very different than it was three months ago. Diagnosis, procedures, and documentation are much more detailed. It starts with healthcare providers offering the information necessary for medical billers and coders to properly do their job. At the same time, those in charge of billing must be completely current on the new codes, methods of reporting and documenting, and appeals management.
On the other end, medical insurance providers must be able to properly process claims in a manner that conforms to the new system. They have to do so efficiently, fairly, and conscientiously, as they ensure those claims that are valid are paid in a prompt manner, and those that are suspicious, inaccurate, or fraudulent are dealt with accordingly.
The brave new world or medical coding and billing is up to this point proving to be much less imposing than one had thought. In a few more months, we’ll have an even clearer understanding of how the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is progressing.
Up to this point, it’s certainly been a pleasant surprise for all involved, including the majority of those consumers who have had to visit their doctor or utilized the services of a healthcare professional beginning October 1, 2015. To make sure that you healthcare invoices are properly handled utilize a medical billing and coding specialist who is completely and thoroughly current on all of the most recent changes.
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