Availity Blog

Be Prepared for ICD-10 Code Freeze and Flexibility to End


10.11.2016 by BETSY NICOLETTI


October 1, 2016 marked the one-year anniversary of the ICD-10 implementation, and the milestone coincided with significant changes to ICD-10 codes that all providers need to be aware of.

After a five-year code freeze, CMS added more than 1,700 new ICD-10 diagnosis codes to the CMS code set library. Additionally, the “coding flexibility policy,” which had been in effect since last year, also ended. Providers are expected to submit claims with ICD-10 codes at the highest level of specificity, avoiding the use of the unspecified codes.

These changes may not come as a surprise to providers around the country, but it’s still unclear if the end of the flexibility policy might lead to more denials. Since ICD-10 went into effect last year, many practices have put processes in place to prepare clinical and administrative staff for the coding specificity ICD-10 requires. Now they will see how well those processes perform, or if additional guidelines and training need to be implemented.

If your office is looking for ways to prepare for these changes, or if you are looking for a good coding fundamentals course for your staff, you may want to consider Availity Learning Center’s The Confident Coder. This five-part webinar series covers a variety of topics, including how coding and reimbursement work together, how to avoid denials, how risk adjusted diagnosis coding is changing the industry, and much more. You can purchase each course individually, or you can purchase the entire series at a discount.

For more information, check out the details of The Confident Coder webinar series.

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