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Open Letter from AAPC's CEO (July 8, 2011)

It has come to my attention that there are some coders currently either getting trained on ICD-10 codes or wanting code set training now. Further, some instructors are desirous to teach their students ICD-10 in 2011 and/or 2012. However, I must stress that it is still TOO EARLY for ICD-10 code set training; one cannot remember for two years what they don’t use every day, and what you learn now will not be the final guidelines or codes – thus wasting both your time and money!  

So … what should you be doing now? That depends on your role. If you are part of implementing the new code set in your office, facility or practice, then you need to become trained now on all steps necessary to accomplish a full ICD-10 implementation.

If you are a coder and you feel you might need more anatomy and pathophysiology knowledge for the increased clinical specificity requirements of the ICD-10 codes, then you should brush up on that now.

A critical component of ICD-10 is that documentation is sufficiently detailed to enable the proper selection of an ICD-10 code. A documentation assessment can be done now and if there are weaknesses, education and training on proper documentation can be provided early. This will help now and in the future as it begins to prepare each physician for the changes in ICD-10.

If you are a coder that only needs to learn the codes, please wait until late 2012 or even 2013 for this. The final updated codes will not be available until March of 2012 – still giving you plenty of time to learn them. Getting code set training earlier will get you outdated education and increase the risk of you forgetting what you’ve learned.

ICD-10 is a big change, but for coders without responsibility over ICD-10 implementation, it will not take years to prepare. 16-24 hours of training may be all that is necessary. At AAPC, we want to help you learn all you need, but not at more money and time than is necessary.

For more information, free resources, and help with any of the above, please visit the ICD-10 section of our website.

Best Regards,


Reed E. Pew
Chairman and CEO