Physicians to begin using new diagnostic codes this year

ICD-10 will increase the number of codes to 155,000

Over the next year, Yale Medical Group physicians will begin using new codes in patient health records that are more specific about a patient’s diagnosis. The federal government is requiring the transition from ICD-9 codes, used nationwide since 1979, to the new ICD-10 codes. ICD codes are used in patients’ medical records to indicate diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings and other information. Because ICD-10 codes are more specific, the number of diagnostic codes to be used by health care providers will increase from 13,000 to 68,000, and the number of procedure codes will jump from 4,000 to 87,000.

All physicians throughout Yale Medical Group and the Yale New Haven Health System will be trained in using the new codes in 2014. Additional training for health information management will also be required. Other employees will receive more general training and information. The ICD-10 conversion will also require changes to Epic and other IT systems.

Hospitals and other health care organizations that do not implement the new ICD-10 codes by October 1, 2014 will not receive reimbursement for the care they provide from the government, insurance companies, and other private payers. Watch for more communications about this project, including training schedules, in the coming months.