This article will discuss the difficulty anesthesia providers will have determining the correct ICD-10 code given the level of specificity required. Because we have no access to previous medical history, we will rely heavily on information from the surgeon. With ICD-10 there is no way to know how much information is actually needed to code correctly until trying to code the case. Therefore, it is my opinion that the best way to determine the code is to have the anesthesia provider choose the code before billing is submitted. There are a number of ways for the provider to choose the correct code, from using the ICD-10 in book form to automated systems that allow the provider to “drill down” until a billable code is reached. With the available technology, this has proven to be the simplest way.
Will this do away with the need for certified coders? Absolutely not. It is crucial that the code chosen by the anesthesia provider be reviewed before the claim is submitted. Providers should be trained and educated in the appropriate aspects of ICD-10. Anesthesia covers a multitude of diagnosis categories so we must train in all categories. The providers we have met with understand the logic behind having them code it themselves and are very open to this mindset. As we start to train groups it has become imperative that they query the surgeon in order to choose the correct code. This has proven to be educational for the surgeons also and made them realize the need for better documentation for their own coders. And the countdown begins, just 43 days until October 1!
–Pam Stopher, CPC, ACS-AN