The healthcare industry is hoping for the best, but bracing for possible disruptions as thousands of new diagnostic codes that doctors must use to be paid go into effect.
The Oct. 1 deadline to implement the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) increases the number of diagnostic codes from 14,000 to 70,000. It also expands procedure codes for hospitals from 4,000 to 72,000.
Some coding experts warn that claims denials could double as providers and payers get used to the new, more specific codes, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“Any problems that crop up will be far more evident on Oct. 15 than Oct. 1, because it takes that long to process claims,” William Rogers, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s ombudsman for ICD-10 conversion, told the WSJ.
One last-minute tip from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) is to check with your payers — especially the ones with whom you do the most business — about how to handle backstop measures for getting claims paid should any challenges arise.
If possible, have cash reserves on hand or look into lines of credit should payment get interrupted, recommends Rhonda Buckholtz, vice president of ICD-10 education and training for the AAPC.
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