Helpful Hints for Crosswalking ICD-9/ICD-10 Codes

In the May 24 issue of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) Daily Digest Bulletin, the agency published the article “What You Should Know About the GEMs.”

What are GEMs?

CMS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a national version of the General Equivalence Mappings (GEMs) to ensure consistency in national data is maintained after the final conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 takes place on Oct. 1, 2013. GEMs are tools that act mainly as a crosswalk between ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnosis codes. You can look up an ICD-9 code and be provided with the most appropriate ICD-10 matches and vice versa.

Gain a Better Understanding

AAPC provides a tutorial that explains ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion and mapping. For help with converting codes, refer to AAPC’s online ICD-10 code conversion tool. This tool is based on the GEMs published by CMS, but is not intended to be used as an ICD-10 conversion or crosswalk tool. The 2011 GEMs are posted on the CMS ICD-10 website. Note that if you plan to use GEMs, you must use the GEMs posted on the CMS website.

As CMS points out, however, GEMs are not a substitute for learning the ICD-10 codes. To learn more about ICD-10-CM code structure and conversion, consider taking one of AAPC’s boot camps, available in 60 cities nationwide.

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