Which (ICD-10) side are you on?

In case you missed it, the “Washington Post” had an interesting (and amusing) article last weekabout ICD-10. If you’re involved in the transition, you’ve probably already got an opinion on the new coding regulations. But those who aren’t waist-deep in preparations sometimes have a hard time sifting through the arguments to make sense of what’s going on.

Tara Courtland

Communications Director Tara Courtland

The article does a good job of explaining and it also lists a few codes you’re going to want to memorize for clever reference at cocktail parties. For example, F10.950 is an unspecified alcohol-induced psychotic disorder and Z56.6 indicates physical and mental strain related to work.

It also points out some of the key problems and benefits of ICD-10 and some of the major statistical facts argued on both sides.

For example:

* A study of a Toronto hospital indicated that before ICD-10, medical coders worked 4.62 charts per hour. The transition dropped it to 2.15 but a year later, coders had picked up the pace and were at 3.75 charts per hour.

* The American Medical Association says switching to ICD-10 will cost doctors’ offices between $56,000 and $8 million.

* A RAND study estimates the potential benefits of ICD-10 outweigh the costs by up to $4.5 billion.

So do the benefits outweigh the problems? I’m willing to bet we never agree on that. The costs are in money, time, energy and stress. The benefits will be in fraud reduction and in faster response to pandemic outbreaks. Some people are going to pay the costs and different people are going to reap the benefits. Some companies are going to lose money, others are going to make a fortune. Whether it’s worth it or not depends on whether you’re paying the cost or reaping the benefits.

Check out the article – it’s a good read regardless of which side you’re on.

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About Tara Courtland

Tara Courtland is the communications director at NEMT.
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