ICD-10 Coding Coming October 1st


After multiple delays over the past few years, beginning October 1 insurance companies will require ICD-10 codes. ICD-9 codes have been in use for decades, so the tenth revision of these codes will likely be the first change the majority of practitioners will have faced. This is an important change as it will affect anyone attempting to get reimbursed from insurance. If you provide invoices (superbills) to clients who get reimbursed from their insurance company, or if you file for payment from insurances using ICD-9 codes after October 1st, your claims will be denied.

Some of the old ICD-9 codes will go away, some of them will expand to include broader services, and some don’t change at all. There are roughly 14,000 ICD-9 codes, and that number explodes to 69,000 codes in the new ICD-10 revision. Obviously the majority of those will not impact counselors, but suffice to say this is a big change. Now is the time to begin researching how this change will affect your private practice and clients.

Here are a few suggestions to get you ready:

  • Mark 10/01/15 on your calendar. Put a big red star on this day or an alert on your phone. Getting an insurance claim denied because of the incorrect type of code is costly and time consuming.
  • Create a log of every place you use ICD-9 codes (e.g. invoices, superbills, claim forms, etc.)
  • Check with your EMR/EHR and make sure that they are ready for the change.
  • If you are using an ICD-9 books to code, order new ICD-10 books.
  • Create a quick reference list of your most commonly used ICD-9 codes and their corresponding ICD-10 codes. I found this reference on the internet, which was really helpful (and free) at quickly transferring codes from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

If you’re interested in reading more about the history of ICD coding, Wikipedia has an excellent entry. Happy coding.

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