Prep for ICD-10 at AOA’s Congressional Advocacy Conference

Members who attend the AOA's Congressional Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C., April 27 through April 29 will get a bonus: a continuing education seminar on ICD-10 basics.

“Because everybody’s having to switch to this new system overnight, it fits right in with issues you’re going to want to talk to your legislators about.”

Rebecca Wartman, O.D., a member of the AOA Third Party Center Coding Committee, will lead the seminar about the new coding system on April 28.

Scheduled to take effect on Oct. 1, ICD-10 will replace ICD-9 as the system for reporting medical conditions on insurance claims and in patient records. With its broad range of 70,000 codes, ICD-10 is far more complex than its predecessor.

But Dr. Wartman, who has been addressing the transition in a series of AOA webinars, says ODs will need to prepare for compliance. Below, she describes what she plans to cover during the two-hour seminar, which will be available to members online in the future.

Why should ODs attend this seminar?

Because of the deadline, and the fact that it's a hot topic. It's a big part of Medicare, and it's a federal government mandate.

What challenges do ODs face with ICD-10?

With the old system, ICD-9, you've got little flexibility on which codes you choose. With ICD-10, you've got lots of codes that are eye-specific, so you have to know the code for the right eye versus the left eye versus both eyes. And a lot of the codes have other codes that you have to use at the same time.

For example, with hypertension retinopathy, you have to code the retinopathy and the hypertension. If the patient is a smoker, you have to code their tobacco use—or previous use or exposure. So, it's a lot more complicated than just coding the retinopathy.

The system uses letters and numbers. That makes it more onerous to make sure you've got the right details. If you don't file the right details, your claim can be denied for not being specific enough.

What are the main points you plan to discuss?

It's going to be fairly broad brush. I want to give an introduction to the nomenclature on how you start to read the alphabetic index, where you'll find resources, and some examples of what you might run into.

I am going to present coding examples from the very simple—like Mucopurulent Conjunctivitis—to more complex coding examples like injury where the cause has to be coded, and infections where the organism has to be coded.

I'll also discuss the AOA's coding tool, AOACodingToday (member login required), which is free to members. The AOA is also working to get a shortened version of the alphabetic index—at least for use by ODs—that filters out everything that's not eye care.

How does this course tie in with the theme of the congressional conference?

Because everybody's having to switch to this new system overnight, it fits right in with issues you're going to want to talk to your legislators about.

March 28, 2014

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