Updated on: March 16, 2016

Complexity of ICD-10-PCS Prompts Specialized Study

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Original story posted on: July 29, 2013

With the healthcare industry’s current focus mainly locked on ICD-10-CM, there is growing concern that too little attention is being given to the more complex construction of ICD-10-PCS, the procedure coding system.

“The industry at large is focusing more on ICD-10-CM (the clinical modification) because it is so similar to ICD-9-CM,” wrote Lolita M. Jones, healthcare consultant and educator, in a statement to ICD10monitor. “And there is more official guidance available, with 113 pages of official guidelines for ICD-10-CM, while there are only 15 pages of official guidelines for ICD-10-PCS.”

The apparent lack of educational attention being focused on ICD-10-PCS is compounded by the fact that those who are unfamiliar with the coding set are more likely to encounter a significant degree of difficulty following the Oct. 1, 2014 implementation deadline.

ICD-10-PCS is a seven-character, alphanumeric system in which coding can be performed using the tabular listings only, with the use of the index being optional. That is not the case with ICD-9-CM, for which there is a three- to four-character numeric coding system in which both the index and tabular lists are required.

“Coding professionals who are unfamiliar with PCS will struggle with the selection of the correct root operation,” Jones wrote. “(And) selecting the correct root operation is the initial building block on which each PCS code must be constructed.”

Given both the complexity of the system and the fact that little information on PCS is currently available, there is concern that training involving the new code set may take longer than most professionals have anticipated.

“Getting an early start on mastering PCS is important primarily for two reasons,” Jones added. “The first (is that) a much more detailed level of medical records documentation is needed for accurate coding under PCS … and the second reason is that the accurate coding of a single procedure usually requires more codes under PCS (than are needed under ICD-9-CM).”

Recognizing the need for focused education on PCS — especially education directed toward ancillary service staff, and not mainly for coding professionals and physicians — prompted ICD10monitor to collaborate with Jones in producing a series of educational webcasts.

“Lolita Jones is a coding and documentation visionary who came to us with the idea of wanting to help non-coders with ICD-10-PSC,” said Chuck Buck, publisher of ICD10monitor. “Lolita has a distinguished track record both as an educator and author, and her textbook, ICD-10-CM/PCS Implementation Action Plan, continues to be a bestseller in our ICD University bookstore.”

Buck said Jones’ ongoing series, “100 Coding Tips for ICD-10-PCS,” which appears monthly in the ICD10monitor e-news, is one of the site’s most popular downloaded features.

“Every time Lolita is on our ‘Talk-Ten-Tuesday’ live Internet radio broadcast and goes down the list of her top 10 ICD-10-PCS coding tips, listeners send us requests for the whole series,” Buck said. “Lolita is up to coding tips Nos. 60 to 71, and we have them all posted on the website, with the others to follow in the next two months.”

ICD10monitor will launch an 11-part series of live one-hour, subscription-based webcasts beginning Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 10 to 11 a.m. EDT. In keeping with the need to reach ancillary service providers, the first webcast will be focused on

ICD-10-PCS solutions for cardiodiagnostics, cardiac rehab and electrophysiology.

“The series is titled ‘Webcast Wednesdays, Featuring ICD-10-PCS Solutions with Lolita M. Jones,’” Buck said. “We are leveraging the equity in our current Internet radio brands, Monitor Monday and Talk-Ten-Tuesday, noting that both broadcasts air at 10 a.m. eastern.”

Unlike the complimentary broadcasts ICD10monitor produces every Monday and Tuesday, again, the Webcast Wednesday broadcast will be subscription-based.

Jones is the principal of Lolita M. Jones Consulting Services (LMJCS), founded in October 1998 in Fort Washington, Md. She has more than 25 years of experience in coding and consulting, having started preparing for the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS by going back to school. On Sept. 12, 2010, Jones became an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)-approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer.

For additional information, go online to www.icduniversity.com or call 866-892-9322.

Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.
Mark Spivey

Mark Spivey is a national correspondent for ICDmonitor.com who has been writing on numerous topics facing the nation’s healthcare system (and federal oversight of it) for five years.