ICD-10 Training: Get Help with A&P and Code Set

ICD-10’s implementation on Oct. 1, 2013 will change everything from the way health care providers document services to the way codes are selected, reported, and reimbursed. It forces medical staff to see computers as partners rather than simple tools. The advent of ICD-10 will homogenize practices, requiring all who come in contact with patients and their records to adapt. Yet, it will be coders who set the keystone for success.

Preparation Is Key

Imagine how you’d prepare for an elderly relative’s move to your house. You’d be anxious, for sure, but preparation would override that as you made decisions about the physical changes the house requires and alterations to your routines. The new member of your household would bring stress, but housing her must be done. Ultimately, the experience would make you grow, and maybe even a newfound appreciation would form.
That’s why AAPC is putting so much time into helping you prepare. “ICD-10 is not just about coding,” Rhonda Buckholtz, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CENTC, CGSC, COBGC, CPEDC, AAPC’s vice president of ICD-10 education, recently told attendees at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngologists. “It changes everything about your practice. If you don’t make the transition to ICD-10 on time, you won’t get paid. It’s that simple.”
ICD-10, with 78,797 new diagnostic codes, may seem overwhelming, but its elegance is impressive. For example, ICD-10 codes for diabetes are more specific, helping to identify the care needed. Ilio-sacral joint problems, previously reported as unspecified lower back pain, now can be specifically coded and care better tracked.
New specificity found in the codes will help make documentation for pay-for-performance and quality tracking programs much easier, Buckholtz says. Every form, procedure, policy, contract, or program will be affected as each of these is tied to diagnostic coding.

All Eyes on Coders

Americans like to do things bigger and better. It’s no wonder, then, that even though we are one of the last countries to adopt ICD-10, our clinically modified version expands 79,000 codes laterally to seven characters rather than the usual five used by other countries. Our ICD-10 is big. It means physicians and other health care professionals must provide detailed documentation so you can code to the greatest specificity.
The expected advantages of electronic health records (EHRs) aside, all eyes will turn to coders to make sense of ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, Buckholtz tells Coding Edge.
Central to success is a better understanding of anatomy and pathophysiology (A&P), Buckholtz says, cautioning even the savviest coders to strengthen their knowledge of A&P. The specificity of ICD-10 codes is based on a precise identification of body sites and function. Not only will you need to know that, but you will also need to help your provider understand why detailed documentation is necessary, she says.
AAPC provides a number of resources—Web-based, live, and printed—to help you lead your practice into this new way of managing the data and revenue of patient care. You can access information on ICD-10 implementation, 5010 electronic transaction standards, and other coding facets through a number of avenues.
For the last two years and through this August, AAPC has been helping practices, payers, and facilities prepare for ICD-10 implementation. Beginning in September 2012, code set training will be everyone’s focus.

Training Steps to 2013

Buckholtz outlines a five-step process to ICD-10 implementation, which can be found at www.aapc.com on the ICD-10 tab. Here you will find explanations for the various training tools and a tracker to help you gauge your preparedness and get your practice ready. AAPC also offers to members a free ICD-9 to ICD-10 code conversion tool based on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) general equivalence mappings (GEMs) files. Simply enter an ICD-9 code to see the ICD-10 code(s) equivalent.
ICD-10 Implementation Training – AAPC offers a two-day boot camp or on-site training for larger organizations, outlining all the steps and resources needed to switch to ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS. These boot camps are held all over the country and attendees leave armed to prepare.
A&P – This 14-hour, online, advanced training will strengthen your A&P knowledge so you can feel confident in your ICD-10 code selection. This will help you earn up to 14 CEUs.
Clinical Requirements in ICD-10 – This online program will help your provider fine-tune documentation to meet the rigid standards ICD-10 will demand.
ICD-10-CM General Code Set Training – This code set and guidelines training begins in September this year with online or boot camp training. Hands-on exercise will help attendees feel more confident about the upcoming change as they become familiar with the new system. Training will be offered as workshops and online. Conferences in 2013 will include general code training.
ICD-10-CM Specialty Code Set Training – Beginning January 2013, specialty code set training will help coders see the impact ICD-10-CM will have in a particular setting. ICD-10 will, for example, affect cardiology differently from pediatrics.
Online Proficiency Prep Tool – Available in September, this online tool will help coders prepare for ICD-10 with case studies, practical exercises, and tips for passing their proficiency assessment.
Proficiency Assessment – Prove ICD-10 expertise to colleagues and providers by taking this 75-question exam before Sept. 30, 2014. Certified coders should complete this exam to maintain their status as elite coders.

More ICD-10 Resources

AAPC already offers and is developing several tools to make the transition easier.
ICD-10 Fast Forward – These inexpensive, laminated sheets include crosswalks from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM for the top 50 diagnoses for 15 specialties. Learn of frequently-used codes in your specialty that will change, and use the cards to help develop new superbills and train others in your practice.
ICD-10 Code Books – AAPC will offer the final code set with guidelines you can use as a learning and documentation assessment tool beginning early 2012.
Local Chapter Training – Local chapters have two options: Easily accessed chapters can request a visit from a National Advisory Board (NAB) member or one of the AAPC Chapter Association (AAPCCA) Board of Directors members. For those where travel is difficult or who can’t wait, download an ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS presentation from the local chapter page at www.aapc.com.
Webinars and Workshops – ICD-10-CM/PCS is part of AAPC’s regular educational fare. Take advantage of on-demand webinars or the latest in on-demand workshops, such as November’s “ICD-10, What You Need to Know Now!” by Kim Reid, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC.
Free resources and costs for training can be found on www.aapc.com. According to Buckholtz, “AAPC is trying to provide as much I-10 support and training in the most affordable, effective, and accessible ways possible. We want our members to be the leaders in I-10 adoption at their workplaces because nobody can code like an AAPC member.”

Brad Ericson, MPC, CPC, COSC, is director of publishing and warehouse at AAPC.


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