10 ICD-10 Questions Frequently Asked By ENTs

dr_EHR / February 4, 2016

The ICD-10 deadline is almost here but there has been no decline in the questions being asked about it. From ENTs to orthopedics to internists, everyone has specific questions they are asking about ICD-10. Some questions are general, others specific to the particular specialty. Here we’ll look at the top ten questions asked by ENTs:

Download ICD-10 FAQ Guide Here

1. Does ICD-10 affect all ENTs?

Yes, whether or not you fall under HIPAA, ICD-9 will no longer be supported after the deadline.

2. Will there be an extension like last year?

There’s every indication that the CMS is committed to the transition and there’s little to stand in the way of the conversion kicking off.

3. Do all states have to incorporate ICD-10 into their code structures?

Yes. The CMS is committed to working with authorities to ensure all states update their coding structures to ICD-10 by the transition date.

4. How will I manage so many codes?

With an almost fivefold increase in the number of codes in ICD-10 versus ICD-9, this is a legitimate concern. However, the CMS likens this increase to the increase in the number of words in a dictionary, which does not necessarily make it harder to use. This logic holds water as it will be easy to look up specific codes that apply to your practice and only use these repeatedly, ignoring the thousands more that do not apply to your ENT practice.

5. Was ICD-10 developed with ENTs in mind?

According to the CMS, ICD-10 was developed with significant clinical input from representative bodies, in this case the American Academy of Otolaryngology. This means the codes represent all the advances in the field to offer a comprehensive suite of reporting codes for ENTs.

6. Can I find a code book with only ENT-related codes?

Yes. Whereas the CMS has published the entire list, there are vendors who have developed code books and charts specifically for ENT doctors so you don’t need to use the complete volume.

7. ICD-11 is already in development, why not skip 10 and head straight to 11?

While it’s true that ICD-11 is already in draft stage, it would be impractical to jump to it from ICD-9, a standard that’s over a quarter century old. ICD-10 therefore represents a vital bridge that cannot be avoided.

8. Will ICD-9 codes map onto ICD-10 codes exactly?

With the changes to the coding structure, this may not work. Whereas ICD-9 had only 5 digit codes, ICD-10 now has 7 digit codes, which may make it difficult to map over ICD-9 codes. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, there are tools and resources to help you get the right ENT codes to use.

9. What happens if additional unnecessary diagnostic tests are required in order to code correctly?

According to the CMS, this will be a non-issue as you will only be required to record codes to the highest degree of accuracy available at the time and date of the service performed.

10. How will ICD-10 affect super bills?

The CMS indicates that there may not be any significant changes to how super bills are created. Transition requirements include eliminating infrequently used codes from your super bills and cross walking your most used codes from ICD-9 to ICD-10 using a tool such as GEMs or the code book.

These questions form the core of concerns for most otolaryngologists and with some solid answers offered by the CMS, can become a gateway to a greater understanding and appreciation of ICD-10.

Download ICD-10 FAQ Guide