Sample the ICD-10-CM Codes

December 12th, 2013
Codes, ICD-10

The CDC has released a series of downloads for the 2014 update of the ICD-10-CM (diagnosis codes). Each download features an addenda file that details the latest content changes for the 2014 release, and this year they’ve made PDF and XML file formats available. Click here to access the list of downloads.

A couple of things to note:

  1. Some downloads are in a compressed zip format, which is a file type where many files are compressed together into one download. If you right-click the file and select “extract,” you can uncompress all the downloads and choose where all the individual files will save to your computer.
  2. Although this ICD-10-CM release is available for viewing, the codes in ICD-10-CM are not currently valid for use yet, because the mandatory implementation date isn’t until October 1, 2015.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), under authorization from the World Health Organization, anticipates further updates to ICD-10-CM prior to implementation. Thus, anything you download now is bound to change in some form before October 2015.


Resistance is Pointless: Here’s Why You Should Embrace ICD-10

December 6th, 2013
ICD-10, Transition

The thought of transitioning to ICD-10 and its 68,000 diagnosis codes might have you shaking in your boots. So, you might also be doing anything in your power to deny the inevitable—possibly to the point of eschewing any of the noted benefits of ICD-10. But before you pooh-pooh 10 and say 9 is just fine, hear me—and CMS—out. Look at all these drawbacks of ICD-9:

  • It is 34 years old. (People still smoked in medical facilities 34 years ago. Not a good sign.)
  • It doesn’t provide the necessary detail for patients’ medical conditions or the procedures and services performed today.
  • It uses antiquated and obsolete terminology. (Let’s leave the old-hat for the moths.)
  • It uses outdated codes that produce incorrect and limited data. (Oh dear, like auditors need any more excuses.)
  • It is inconsistent with current medical practice because it cannot accurately describe 21st century diagnoses and inpatient procedures of care.

So, ICD-9 is nowhere near fine. Now that we’ve acknowledged the severe flaws of our oldie-but-not-goodie system, let’s consider—thanks to a list from CMS—what ICD-10 will bring to the table:

  • Greater specificity of clinical information, which will result in:

    • Improved ability to measure services and conduct public health surveillance
    • Increased insight for refining grouping and reimbursement methodologies
    • Decreased need to include supporting documentation with claims
  • Updated classification of diseases and medical terminology
  • Codes that allow for comparison of mortality and morbidity data
  • Better data for:

    • Measuring patient care
    • Conducting research
    • Designing payment systems
    • Processing claims
    • Making clinical decisions
    • Tracking public health
    • Identifying fraud and abuse

And with that, I’d say ICD-10 is by and large better than ICD-9. Sure, it’ll be quite the transition, but an important and necessary one. Thus, rather than shake in your boots, it’s time to tighten your laces and start running—confidently—with the changes. To help facilitate that, check out this timeline. It starts now and so should you.