Updated on: November 21, 2016

Five Seemingly Irrefutable ICD-10 Myths Resoundingly Debunked

Original story posted on: April 27, 2015

With the recent announcement of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) fix by Congress and the fact that the legislation did not contain any language on ICD-10 delays, the message is clear to the healthcare industry: we need to get ready now.


For those who have been procrastinating, it may mean kicking things into high gear. For those who have been put off by some of the myths of ICD-10 implementation, here are a few common ones, along with some hard facts:

  1. If you did not treat a patient who was burned on flaming water skis prior to ICD-10, you will suddenly have a patient appear at your doorstep on Oct. 1, 2015 just because there is a code for that. Let’s keep our focus on what’s really important to us with the codes we will actually use in our practices.

  2. ICD-10 is going to break the bank. This is not necessarily true, as long as you are making smart business decisions. There are many ways to reduce costs, so be sure to turn to vendors that are reputable.

You should have heard from all vendors you work with already about ICD-10 implementation plans and potential costs to your practice. If not, get busy and start contacting those vendors. Many cost studies show actual ICD-10 costs being much less than what was originally projected. If you don’t need a lot of upgrades, you can easily manage the rest of the costs.

  1. It will take years for productivity to return. Coders are much better than they are being given credit for. AAPC studies show that productivity returns to normal following 40-80 hours of work with the new code set, not years.

  2. Physicians need to change their documentation just for ICD-10. No one needs to change just for a new code set, but the bottom line is that quality matters. That much is evident in the language of the SGR bill. ICD-10 sheds a light on a current problem we have with documentation that needs fixing. 

  3. You don’t have to test to make sure ICD-10 works for you. One size never fits all. Testing is extremely important, but you must make sure you work with your billing companies, clearinghouses, and other vendors to get on testing schedules. It’s the only way to protect your practice during the transition.

While we are getting very close to the implementation date, it’s important to realize that even if you have not yet started, you can still make all of the necessary preparations for the transition in time.

Don’t become overwhelmed with the myths in the industry; it’s time to move forward and get this done.



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.

Rhonda Buckholtz is the vice president of practice optimization for Eye Care Leaders. She has more than 25 years of experience in healthcare, working in the management, reimbursement, billing, and coding sectors, in addition to being an instructor. She is a past co-chair for the WEDI ICD-10 Implementation Workgroup, Advanced Payment Models Workgroup and has provided testimony ongoing for ICD-10 and standardization of data for NCVHS. Rhonda spends her time on practice optimization for Eye Care Leaders by providing transformational services and revenue integrity for Ophthalmology practices. She was instrumental in developing the Certified Ophthalmology Professional Coder (COPC) exam and curriculum for the AAPC. Rhonda is a member of the ICD10monitor editorial board and makes frequent appearances on Talk Ten Tuesdays.

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