It has been 15 years since the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics recommended that ICD-9 should be replaced, and eight years since that body recommended that ICD-10 should be adopted. On Aug. 22, the proposed rule for Modification to Medical Data Code Set Standards to Adopt ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS was finally issued. The proposal calls for replacing the ICD-9-CM for all morbidity and mortality classification, and replacing the ICD-9 procedure classification with ICD-10-PCS in acute care. The proposed effective date for the switchover is Oct. 1, 2011. Meanwhile, the comment period ends Oct. 21 of this year.
Developed in the 1970s, the ICD-9-CM classification system does not effectively represent 21st century medical concepts and technology and therefore cannot support the many ways these data are used today. Clearly, ICD-9 lacks sufficient specificity and detail, and no longer reflects current knowledge of disease processes, contemporary medical terminology or diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. And while the diagnosis and procedure classifications have been updated nearly every year for the past 30 years, ICD-9 has, literally, run out of codes to accommodate advances in medicine and medical technology.