As you have heard by now, the Senate voted to extend ICD-10 to October 2015. That doesn’t mean you have to stop preparing! Below are some facts that can help you make sure that when the time comes, you are ICD-10 compliant.

Will the new coding system be impossible to use?

Just as an increase in the number of words in a dictionary doesn’t make it more difficult to use, the greater number of codes in ICD-10-CM/PCS doesn’t necessarily make it more complex to use. In fact, the greater number of codes in ICD-10-CM/PCS make it easier for you to find the right code. In addition, just as you don’t have to search the entire list of ICD-9-CM codes for the proper code, you also don’t have to conduct searches of the entire list of ICD-10-CM/PCS codes.

How was ICD-10 developed?

 The development of ICD-10-CM/PCS involved significant clinical input. A number of medical specialty societies contributed to the development of the coding systems.

Will hardcopy ICD-10 books be available?

 ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code books are already available and are a manageable size (one publisher’s book is two inches thick). The use of ICD-10-CM/PCS is not predicated on the use of electronic hardware and software. For more information, go to

Will ICD-10 quickly be out of date?

 Prior to the implementation of the partial code freeze, ICD-10-CM/PCS codes had been updated annually since their original development to keep pace with advances in medicine and technology and changes in the health care environment.

Will ICD-10 result in unnecessary detailed medical record documentation?

 As with ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM/PCS codes should be based on medical record documentation. While documentation supporting accurate and specific codes will result in higher-quality data, nonspecific codes are still available for use when documentation doesn’t support a higher level of specificity.

Will the ICD-10 super bills be too complex?

Practices may continue to create super bills that contain the most common Diagnosis Codes used in their practice. ICD-10-CM-based super bills will not necessarily be longer or more complex than ICD-9-CM-based super bills.

Was GEMs developed to provide help in coding?

 The GEMs were not developed to provide help in coding medical records. Code books are used for this purpose.