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From Our Print Archives

Launching a New Coding System ? and a New Column

Vol. 16 •Issue 19 • Page 8
Guest Editorial

Launching a New Coding System — and a New Column

HIM professionals across the country continue to hope that, one of these days, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will implement the new ICD-10 diagnosis and procedural coding systems. The latest news out of Congress is that HHS must do this by 2010, but legislation has not yet been finalized.

Fortunately, Congress has taken steps in that direction. Specifically, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Better Health Information System Act of 2006 (HR 4157) in early July. In addition to addressing various issues surrounding health information technology, HR 4157 sets a new deadline of October 2010 for HHS to replace the ICD-9 system with the ICD-10 system.

Four years—the time until possible implementation—seems like plenty of time to learn all there is to learn and do all there is to do to prepare for the new coding systems. For some tasks, it may be long enough; for others, it may not. One thing is certain, however: There is, indeed, a lot to learn.

Information and Education

With this issue of ADVANCE for Health Information Professionals, Medical Learning Inc. (MedLearn®) is launching "ICD-10 Transition Tips and Tools"—a monthly online column that will introduce readers to key aspects of the new diagnosis and procedural coding system.

Over the months ahead, several members of MedLearn's consulting and publishing staff will provide information and education about topics such as the following.

  • Development, implementation and maintenance issues;

  • Similarities and differences between ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM;

  • Advantages and opportunities of the new system, such as improved data quality;

  • Case studies with ICD-9 and ICD-10 code assignments and rationales for code selections coordinated with new guidelines;

  • Advice from the field–interviews with key players in the transition;

  • Planning and staff training required; and

  • System changes and vendor requirements.

    With the research and development efforts of MedLearn's Editor, Janis Oppelt, several of our HIM consultants will help to educate ADVANCE readers about the new coding system. Our team of ICD-10 experts includes the following:

  • Lynn Cleasby, RHIT

  • Peggy Hapner, RHIA, CCS

  • Susan Howe, RHIT, CCS

  • Julianne Seaman, CPC, CCS-P, RCC

  • Sharon Williamson, CPC, CHCC

    As we develop this column, we encourage readers to submit their comments and questions. With your guidance, we'll try and provide the information you need to successfully transition to the new coding system.

    Suzanne Lappen is director of corporate development at Medical Learning Inc. (MedLearn®), St. Paul, MN.


    I would like info on OB-GYN updates available

    Rebecca Harris,  Medical Coder/Biller,  Biltmore OB-GYNJuly 28, 2010
    Asheville, NC


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