February 24, 2011

Partial code freeze to precede ICD-10 Implementation

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The scheduled national transition to ICD-10 still may be 32 months away, but the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) already is taking steps to ensure that things go smoothly.

In what CMS is describing as a well-received move, a partial freeze is being placed on ICD-9-CM (diagnosis and procedure), ICD-10-CM (diagnosis) and ICD-10-PCS (inpatient hospital procedure) codes leading up to the Oct. 1, 2013 transition date. The decision was finalized during an ICD-9-CM Coordination & Maintenance Committee Meeting held late last year.

ICD-10, otherwise known as the more verbose International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems’ 10th revision, is the coding system that was launched in 1992 and today is used by more than 100 nations worldwide. Go online to http://apps.who.int/classifications/apps/icd/icd10online/ to review the World Health Organization’s online browser detailing its inner workings.

The pending partial freeze will proceed in stages, CMS recently announced. The last regular update to ICD-9 or ICD-10 code sets will be made on Oct. 1, 2011, and by Oct. 1, 2012 there only will be limited updates to those sets, performed to capture new technology and new diseases, officials said. Starting on the date of the ICD-10 implementation, there will be no updates made to ICD-9-CM, as it no longer will be a standard system recognized by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Regular updates to ICD-10 are scheduled to begin by Oct. 1, 2014, according to CMS, making Oct. 1 an anticipated date of significance during each of the next four years. The ICD-9 Coordination & Maintenance Committee is expected to meet twice a year during the partial freeze, and during its meetings, the public will be allowed to comment on whether requests for new diagnosis and procedure codes should be created based on the need to reflect new technologies or diseases. Any code requests that do not meet the established criteria will be evaluated for implementation within ICD-10 on or after Oct. 1, 2014, officials said.

To view the transcript of the meeting at which the partial freeze was finalized, go online to http://www.cms.gov/ICD9ProviderDiagnosticCodes/03_meetings.asp. From there, select the Sept. 15-16, 2010 meeting transcript in the download section, and then from the ZIP files, select the 091510_Morning_Transcript file. This section appears on page 4 of the 78-page proceeding.

Read 751 times Updated on March 16, 2016
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.