In 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule to update ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM for diagnosis coding and ICD-10-PCS for procedure coding (jointly referred to as ICD-10). The federal government has delayed the transition a number of times from the first proposed implementation date of Oct. 1, 2011. President Obama on April 1, 2014 signed into law the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, which delayed the transition until Oct. 1, 2015.

ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS are upgrades to the current, outdated diagnosis and procedure coding system. Only hospitals reporting inpatient procedures will upgrade to ICD-10-PCS. Diagnosis and procedure codes are a way for physicians, hospitals and other providers to exchange information with health plans to describe patient conditions and the services provided to treat those conditions. They are embedded in nearly every clinical and billing operation nationwide. Diagnosis codes are an important piece of information to describe patients’ conditions, justify the services provided and demonstrate medical necessity.

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