Providers are grateful to have gotten a few months' advance notice on thousands of new ICD-10 codes.
The CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had delayed releasing new codes because of the long, drawn-out, nationwide conversion to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes.
This week, the federal agencies released about 1,900 new diagnosis codes. Earlier this month, they pushed out nearly 3,700 new or revised inpatient procedure codes, nearly all of which are cardiovascular codes. The start date for use of the new codes is Oct. 1, 2016.
The last annual update of codes was nearly five years ago.
Stanley Nachimson, principal with Nachimson Advisors, a health IT consultant and coding expert said the new codes add flexibility for a number of conditions. Other codes were corrected to add some increased specificity.
Going forward, “while the code set will be updated annually, this first update is larger than usual because of the freeze,” Nachimson said, adding that there will be work needed to implement these. “But not like the full ICD-10 implementation.”
The American Hospital Association and the American Health Information Management Association both lauded the timing of the release of the codes.
Lynne Thomas Gordon, CEO of AHIMA, said issuing them in March “will provide additional time for the industry to prepare, and the new codes will enhance the specificity of patient stories captured in their health records.”