ENT Billing and Coding: Understanding ICD-10 Coding Changes

icd-10-coding-changesIf you work in the medical field with billing and coding management, you are probably acutely aware of the changes that are coming in October 2015 with regard to ICD-10 coding. Taking time to learn about the specific changes that are being made to diagnosis code reporting between ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding has become a vital part of any medical billing system. With specific regard to ENT billing and coding, there are specific changes coming that will affect your practice.

What is Changing?
Breaking down the changes to ICD-10 coding can help you and your practice to get on board with the differences in the way you will be doing billing and coding management this year. Some of the most notable changes include the way that the ICD-10 coding has been expanded from a five position code to a seven position code. In addition, the ICD-9 coding contained one alphanumeric character in the first position, followed by four numeric codes. The ICD-10 coding uses alphanumeric characters in every position of the new seven position code, not just the first position.

Another obvious difference would be the sheer volume of codes that have increased. The ICD-9 has just 13,000 codes, while the ICD-10 coding will address 68,000 existing codes. The goal is to provide an increase in the specific data required for reporting, allowing additional information to be included in with each code for ENT billing and coding. While not all of the new codes will apply to otolaryngology billing and coding management, there are many that will be used.

Changes in terminology to reflect modern changes in medical procedures and services will be more consistent throughout the new ICD-10 coding set. Some codes will contain a combination of both diagnoses and symptoms as a means of reducing the number of codes that need to be reported with each claim to completely describe the patient’s condition. However, some codes will become more specific. For example, details will be included that previously were not included in ICD-9, such as lateral reporting of right and left designations, to determine which side of the body is being evaluated or treated.

Concerns Raised for Medical Billing System
When speaking with professionals who work with billing and coding management, one of the biggest concerns about the change to ICD-10 coding is that there is no simple key that shows the changes from the old system to the new. While there are are some changes that directly and clearly correspond to one another, there are others that change from one code to many codes and condense many codes into one code. There are even some code changes that do not seem to show a correspondence to anything from the old ICD-9 to the new ICD-10 coding.

The clarity issues surrounding these changes will be felt most when filing claims to state Medicaid agencies. While there are some publications out there that are designed to help make the changes more clear, additional work may be required to help billing and coding management departments cope with the transition. This is part of why the implementation of ICD-10 has been delayed so many times. With regard to ENT billing and coding, it is important for individual practices and clinics to ensure that their medical billing system is updated and ready to embrace the change by the October deadline.

Why Make the Change?
Some practices and professionals who work with billing and coding management have wondered aloud why the ICD-10 coding changes are even necessary in the first place. The last time this code was updated was over 25 years ago. There have been many changes in the world of medical practices, as well as with the medical billing system. New treatments, technologies, conditions and other developments all need to be represented for ENT billing and coding. The ICD-9 code was not designed to grow and evolve and the medical field changed and, as a result, has been the source of many issues with regard to the federal medical billing system.

The need for a new system that is better able to describe the current practices available within the otolaryngology field. Despite the fact that the ICD-10 coding changes seem overwhelming, once they are adopted and accepted within the medical billing system, they will make ENT billing and coding more detailed and comprehensive. The ICD-10 coding system also has the ability to adapt as medical advances occur and will be able to help practices, clinics, surgery centers and hospitals to provide better management for their patient accounts.

MD Pro Solutions is the Answer
If your billing and coding management department is struggling with the new ICD-10 coding changes, our team can help provide you with the education and training needed to successfully make the transition. All of our team members are trained and experienced in the field of ENT billing and coding, management and training. We can help your staff get on board with the changes to the medical billing system, improve their knowledge of ICD-10 coding and make sure that you are prepared for the October 2015 deadline. We can also help you to optimize your in-house system to improve your earning potential and protect your practice from legal issues caused by billing inaccuracies.

To find out more about our consultant services, which include training, testing and screening, ICD-10 coding education and training, online testing and training, policy manual development, as well as online coding help for ICD-9, ICD-10 and CPT with RVU global days and CCI edits, give us a call at 508-946-1665. We can provide you with all of the information you need on our education, training and support programs for your ENT billing and coding department.