How are physical therapists handling the switch to ICD-10?

So far, ICD-10 has arrived on the healthcare scene with very little fanfare. And we haven’t witnessed any major roadblocks or negative impacts on payers, claims, or payments. So with that in mind, how are providers handling the switch?


One of the biggest fears providers had going into the ICD-10 transition was the potential for a huge loss in productivity. So far, though, providers haven’t reported any massive interruptions to their daily workflows. But, could that be because their claims haven’t been denied yet? As this Politico New York article explains, we’ve yet to see ICD-10’s true impact across the board: “One month into the transition to a new, expansive coding system for diseases and health problems, health care providers say it’s still too early to know what sort of repercussions the new system will have on their operations.” As more data comes in about claims and payments—or denials—providers will have a better sense of whether their productivity will suffer moving forward (i.e., how much time they’ll spend correcting and resubmitting claims).


One aspect of ICD-10 that providers worked hard to prepare for was the inevitable change in their coding process. Because the new code set is much more specific, they had to adjust their coding habits to code more accurately. And in these beginning stages, it looks like their efforts are paying off—at least according to this RevCycle Intelligence article: “Nearly 1,000,000 ICD-10 claims were successfully processed the first time around within the first three weeks of October.”

But, to keep this momentum going, providers can’t kick back and get comfortable with their current habits. This Modern Medicine Network article stresses the importance of constant attention to detail and evaluation of processes: “Providers will continue to require coaching on documenting to ICD-10 level specificity and the importance of providing it from the time care is being authorized, all the way through the patient’s treatment plan.”


Even if there is a chance providers could suffer productivity loss in the future, they still stand to gain advantages from the ICD-10 switch. Because the new code set allows for more specificity, claims can be paid more easily—without the time-consuming back-and-forth communication between payers and providers. This Healthcare Informatics article explains that ICD-10 cuts down on “the ‘gigantic paper chase’ for providers, as historically commercial payers have frequently asked for more information or additional details about a procedure when providers submit claims.” So, as long as the transition continues as it has thus far, providers might find that ICD-10 offers more potential than it does pain.


How’s the transition going for you? Are you seeing a drop in productivity? Or has your preparedness helped you take on this transition with ease? Fill out the form below and tell us about your experience, and keep an eye on the blog for more ICD-10 news as information is released.