Halloween ICD-10 codes help prep for scary season

AMA Wire
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Be prepared for the spookiest season of the year. With ICD-10 implementation coming Oct. 1 of next year, here are the ICD-10 diagnosis codes you may need for Halloween.

  • If one of your patients is unlucky enough to cross paths with a surly black cat, ICD-10 allows you to code for a bite from a cat (W55.01). The equivalent ICD-9 code didn’t allow for distinction by animal, so potential complications from a bite could be easier to monitor under the new code set. 
  • Watch that neck: An encounter with a vampire could result in ICD-10 code S11.83, which denotes puncture wounds to a specified part of the neck. 
  • Did your patient’s hand slip while carving a pumpkin? If you’re dealing with a finger cut, ICD-10 has codes for the left hand versus right hand and the exact finger that is injured.

While the minute detail of these codes could be silly, the ICD-10 code set is no trick. ICD-10-CM has 68,000 codes—a five-fold increase from the approximately 13,000 diagnosis codes in ICD-9. Physicians have less than a year to transition to the code set.

The AMA continues to urge regulators to ease this physician burden, citing the dramatically high implementation costs of ICD-10, coupled with an already onerous regulatory environment.

However, practice management experts caution that physicians need to allow sufficient time to prepare their practices for the transition to ICD-10. Physicians should begin preparing for implementation by working with software vendors and testing their systems, if they haven’t already. The AMA offers resources to make the transition easier.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced three weeks that will be dedicated to helping physicians test whether their claims will be accepted in the Medicare claims processing system. The first testing week will be from Nov. 17-21.

Read more about how the AMA is working to help ease ICD-10 implementation for physicians. Additional education and planning resources are available on the AMA’s ICD-10 Web page.

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ICD-10 is a creation of the WHO, but it has been implemented in numerous countries for several years. However, I cannot locate any info that says it improves medical care. It has a capital cost, not only the implementing of the software but also the time to code charts. <br/> <br/> Meanwhile, physicians will serve as unpaid scribes to add to a large data base that may or may not be accurate.<br/> <br/> If this expensive system does not improve patient care or public health then why do we need to implement and learn a coding system that is so overly detailed that it makes us able to code for a patient being struck by a piece of a space debris?
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