American Optometric Association Offers Resources in Advance of ICD-10 Rollout

St. Louis, Mo. (April 8, 2015)—With less than six months left for optometrists to prepare to adopt new coding guidelines, the American Optometric Association (AOA) is providing guidance and support to the profession. 

In the spring of 2014, federal regulators pushed back the compliance deadline for the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) to October 1, 2015. Once in effect, this will serve as the new system for reporting medical conditions on insurance claims and in patient records.

Resources available from the AOA include:

  • The AOA's Third Party Center Coding Experts, who are available to answer questions about ICD-10 and other coding topics at askthecodingexperts@aoa.org.
  • A 10-part ICD-10 webinar series developed by AOA's Coding Experts. The webinar series is available exclusively to members at aoa.org/coding.
  • Kara Webb, the AOA's associate director for coding and regulatory policy, is also available to answer questions about ICD-10 and related topics at KCWebb@aoa.org.
  • AOACodingToday.com, a no-cost, members-only, online resource that offers CPT/ICD-9/ICD-10 information.
  • The 2015 Coding Bundle, which includes the 2015 AOA ICD-10 Codes for Optometry Book, 2015 AMA Professional Edition CPT Book and AOA Express Mapping Card. A digital download version of the Codes for Optometry Book is also available at aoa.org/marketplace.

For optometry, the additional year to prepare "was a blessing in disguise," says AOA Trustee Gregory Caldwell, O.D. "Providers have had extra time to address some of the barriers to ICD-10 that existed last year, such as figuring out the right codes for the right patients and payers. In addition, information technology vendors have fixed some glitches in getting the proper upgrades required of electronic health records (EHRs)," adds Dr. Caldwell.

Having the right EHR in place is critical. Dr. Caldwell says his office's EHR has proved invaluable. The software his office uses allows him to type in an ICD-9 code, and it will provide the equivalent ICD-10 code he's looking for. ICD-10 will be offering at least 70,000 potential choices for coding diagnoses and causes of medical conditions. Only half may apply to ODs, yet at this time, everyone in the profession should be working to prepare for this major code change.

Dr. Caldwell emphasizes that the AOA is available to support members through this transition. "This is something the AOA is not taking lightly. We have invested in a lot of resources, and we certainly want our members to realize that we're here for them."

About the American Optometric Association (AOA):The American Optometric Association, a federation of state, student and armed forces optometric associations, was founded in 1898. Today, the AOA is proud to represent the profession of optometry, America's family eye doctors, who take a leading role in an individual's overall eye and vision care, health and well-being. Doctors of optometry (ODs) are the independent primary health care professionals for the eye and have extensive, ongoing training to examine, diagnose, treat and manage disorders, diseases and injuries that affect the eye and visual system, providing two-thirds of primary eye care in the U.S. For information on a variety of eye health and vision topics, and to find an optometrist near you, visit aoa.org.