Three Myths about ICD-10 That Will Prevent You from Transitioning On Time

ICD-10 is the elephant in the room that everyone’s actually talking about. And elephant it is. Massive increase in the number of codes to report, additional digits in each code, super bill migration, etc. creates a rather dire picture of things to come. It’s therefore no mystery why many health practitioners and administrators have a sort of foreboding for the impending deadline, which many see as a harbinger of harder times as members of the medical fraternity. To add to the milieu, consider a number of myths and non-truths that have misled many into believing that perhaps there could be a chance that ICD-10 will fail or that the implementation date will not be met. These and other myths are what we’ll address here, and discuss how they could end up hampering your chances of transitioning smoothly by the deadline date.

There Will Be An Extension

This is the biggest myth and possibly the favorite of many healthcare practitioners. There’s a general sentiment that because the deadline was postponed in the past, it may very well be postponed again. This is a precarious myth to believe, especially because it has the effect of creating some form of lethargy in working towards implementing the new coding system. The challenge being that if you hope or believe the deadline will be postponed again, then chances are you won’t work as hard to meet the deadline. This may prove to be a crippling challenge for practitioners who opt to believe this myth.

Payers Won’t Be Ready So Why Should We?

Again, another hindering myth to getting ready. There may be truth to this but it cannot be treated as a truth that can be relied on as a defense for not switching over. Payers have their challenges and concerns and many are working directly with the CMS to ensure they are ready when the deadline arrives. Nevertheless, there is every indication that the CMS will do whatever it takes to ensure the payers are ready, something it will not do to ensure you, as a medical practitioner, are ready. Left to your own devices, it would behoove you to take the necessary steps to be ready, just in case or in the event that payers are indeed ready and perchance you aren’t.

ICD-10 Is Too Complex and Hence Won’t Work

The ballooning of codes from 14,000 in ICD-9-CM to 68,000 in ICD-10-CM is fairly intimidating. As if 14,000 codes were not numerous enough, now EPs have to contend with a fivefold increase in the number of codes. This misgiving is, however, unfounded as the CMS explains using a dictionary metaphor: if the words in a dictionary increase, it does not mean the complexity of the language also increases. The added codes only make the reporting more detailed and specific, increasing the quality of data collected. With electronic and hardcopy manuals that are easy to peruse (just like a dictionary), the new ICD-10 codes will offer doctors more good than evil, something that most will appreciate once the transition comes into force.
These issues do bear some legitimacy and no doubt signal the challenges many healthcare practitioners are facing with the transition. To help overcome these challenges, EPs will have to realign themselves with the reality that ICD-10 is inevitable at this point and therefore taking the necessary steps would amount to acting in their own best interests.

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