Taking the ICD-10 Transition in an Upp-ward Direction.

As you know, nearly every healthcare organization in the country will be affected by the transition to ICD-10. Did you also know that organizations like banks, brokerages, clearinghouses and even automotive insurers will also be affected by the change?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What You Need To Know About ICD-10 Translators

It is abundantly clear that failing to comply with the ICD-10 mandate will bring about severe consequences, for both an organization’s finances and efficiency. However, many healthcare payers and providers may be overlooking a key element that will ensure they incur less financial loss: the role of ICD-10 translators.

The challenge is not for healthcare organizations to merely achieve compliance, but to empower themselves by translating their legacy data to be compliant with ICD-10. While this may seem like obvious advice, the stress placed on coders to ensure that payment is received for new claims can overshadow the need to convert legacy data. In order to facilitate various analyses, claims re-submission or past claims adjudication this legacy data must be converted.

There is no automatic or direct translation from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The granularity of the ICD-10 coding scheme brings about many issues when transferring legacy system codes to the new code set. While payers and providers may like the idea of simply translating legacy patient and claims information into the applicable ICD-10 code using automated tools, these tools try to find the associated ICD-10 codes based upon the compounded specifications of previous ICD-9 codes. This can lead to unspecified data and information that the code designer never intended.

The key factor that impedes code translation is the sheer volume of possibilities that ICD-10 presents when compared to ICD-9. ICD-10 has eight times as many codes as compared to ICD-9. The ICD-9 code structure allowed only numeric codes with the possible inclusion of an E or V in front of the code for further distinction. Because of the limitations of the original structure, ICD-9 is reaching its capacity. The ICD-10 coding structure is alphanumeric, allowing for reporting while also allowing for the creation of new codes as needed, yet also making direct translation extremely difficult.

Truth #3
Translators cannot be 100% correct because there are very few direct translations from ICD-9 to ICD-10. To succeed, intervention by a skilled medical coder is mandatory.

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