Electronic Health Records

Policy & Regulation News

ICD-10 Issue Reporting Database Use Continues Past Deadline

By Sara Heath

In light of it being the first day of ICD-10 compliance, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) has announced that its Issue Reporting Database will continue operations into the first stages of ICD-10 transition.

The Issue Reporting Database was developed in early 2014 in partnership with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to provide stakeholders with a place to submit problems and questions to ease the transition. Due to the high demand for assistance as ICD-10 compliance has begun, WEDI states its database will continue to function as a primary resource for stakeholders to submit questions and to identify key problems they are experiencing.

The Issue Reporting Database will function by accepting user-submitted questions and performing a thorough review by WEDI team members. The questions will then be answered and posted online on a searchable database for other users to reference. If the question was submitted with contact information, the answer would be forwarded directly to the submitter as well.

“As we’ve neared the implementation deadline, questions are coming in at a feverish pace,” said WEDI President and CEO Devin Jopp, Ed.D. “Because of this, it is important that all healthcare industry stakeholders have continued access to this valuable resource well beyond the transition deadline of October 1.”

Many other resources are available to assist providers as they face the start of ICD-10 compliance. In July, CMS and the American Medical Association announced a set of flexibility provisions that will take place throughout the first 12 months of ICD-10 compliance. These provisions state that ICD-10 codes will not be denied solely because of the specificity of a code. This means that if a code is submitted within the proper family of codes, but perhaps does not completely meet ICD-10 specificity standards, it will not be denied during the first 12 months of compliance. This is intended to help create a smoother transition to ICD-10 and allow providers to iron out any issues they face as they begin using the new code set.

CMS has also appointed a specific individual to manage ICD-10 coding issues. The organization recently appointed William Rogers, MD, as the ICD-10 ombudsman as a part of the flexibility provisions announced in July. Rogers will be tasked with handling many of the problems and questions put forth by providers as the ICD-10 transition goes underway.

Furthermore, CMS has provided multiple ICD-10 readiness checklists for providers to review in preparation for the transition. Included on these step-by-step checklists were steps such as creating action plans, engaging in ICD-10 readiness tests, and adequately training staff.

Leading up to today’s ICD-10 compliance deadline, there has been much debate regarding readiness. While many physicians reported feeling underprepared for today’s deadline, many CIOs and health information management professionals expressed excitement for the opportunities this new code set can provide for the healthcare community. As the new ICD-10 codes go into effect today, it will be a waiting game to see whether providers were prepared and if the new code set will provide ample new data for the healthcare industry.

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