Six Key Facts about ICD-10 by Sue Kay

Does the thought of implementing ICD-10-CM give you a 784.0 (headache)? Or perhaps, you’ve developed 300.00 (anxiety) just thinking about it? Before you develop complete 994.5 (Exhaustion due to excessive exertion), take a look at some of the key facts about ICD-10 that we’ve compiled for you along with links to valuable resources that will help you prepare for ICD-10 in the most “efficient” manner possible.

1. In January 2009, HHS released the final ruling for implementation of ICD-10-CM. This final rule pushed back the implementation deadline from October 1, 2011 to October 1, 2013. This was done in an effort to provide organizations the necessary time to prepare for what will be a major transition.

2. On the same day, HHS also released the final rule on HIPAA transaction standards – X12 version 5010. The deadline for 5010 implementation was pushed back to January 1, 2012.

A fact sheet describing both rules may be viewed at:

3. As of the end of 2008, there were 68,064 ICD-10-CM codes as compared to the 13,677 ICD-9 codes. (That wasn’t a typo! There truly are more than 68,000 ICD-10 diagnostic codes.) The World Health Organization developed the basic ICD-10. ICD-10-CM was developed through collaboration with physician specialty groups who reviewed the basic ICD-10 and identified areas where greater details as needed. This added detail was necessary for tracking health care trends and for evaluating outcomes for a variety of healthcare technologies and treatments.

4. Most of the rest of the world is using ICD-10 or a clinical modification of ICD-10. As a matter of fact, according to AHIMA, the US “is the only industrialized nation not using an ICD-10-based classification system for morbidity reporting.”

5. According to the AHIMA website, there is significant value to transitioning to ICD-10 in that it will result in:

  • Greater coding accuracy and specificity
  • Higher quality information for measuring healthcare service quality, safety and efficiency
  • Reduced coding errors
  • Improved ability to track and respond to international public health threats
  • Enhanced ability to meet HIPAA electronic transaction/code set requirement

AHIMA offers a monthly free electronic newsletter called ICD-TEN designed to help you prepare for and to keep you up-to-date on emerging news related to ICD-10 implementation. To sign up, click on the link below:

6. Other organizations (American Academy of Family Physicians; American College of Physicians; American Medical Association to name a few) are concerned about the cost of implementing ICD-10. Those additional costs include: staff training and education; business process analysis; changes to fees slips/superbills; IT system changes and potential cash flow disruption. These costs are outlined in a blog by Doreen Bentley, the managing editor of Just Please click on the link below for her full article:

We will continue to be on the lookout for additional ICD-10 implementation information/resources for you and will include this in future editions of Efficiency in Practice. If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to email us at

© 2009 Efficiency in Practice

Sue Kay, Senior Consultant at InHealth, is the editor of Efficiency in Practice, the free eNewsletter for medical practice managers who want to save time, money and reduce risk. For more information and to access your FREE report, The 8 Things You MUST Know About CMS’ RAC Program, visit

This article can be reprinted freely online, as long as the entire article and this resource box are included.

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