ICD-10 Training: The good news is that mappings can help

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

When it comes to planning ICD-10 implementation, there is good news and bad news. While the bad news is really bad, the good news is going to ease the pain quite a bit.

There is no direct translation from ICD-9 codes to ICD-10. Well for some codes there are. But for a majority of ICD-9 codes, you will have to get much more specific after Oct. 1, 2013. This is the really bad news. You're going to have to learn new codes and train your clinicians to be more specific with documentation.

Now for some good news. You're not going to have to know all 16,000 possible codes. Think about how many ICD-9 codes you use now. Of those, how many do you see most of the time? That's what you're really going to have to know. That knowledge is going to help you plan your training.

Create ICD-10 equivalency maps. I know. You can't rely on General Equivalency Mappings (GEMs) to do all the work. But you can get an idea of what ICD-10 codes you will use the most.  "It would be good for coders to see the ICD-9 codes that they're typically coding now and see what the ICD-10 equivalents are going to be," says Raemerie Jimenez, director of education for AAPC, in the post "6 Tactics to Prepare for ICD-10".

These mappings won't do the work for you, but they will show you where you need to prepare for training. ICD-10 implementation looks much more manageable when you concentrate on the ICD-10 codes you need most.