If you haven’t done so already, you must get ahold of the new ICD-9 code books and prepare for the change taking effect on October 1. The Coding and Reimbursement Network News has a good summary of the more common changes. (Scroll down to the third article).
Author Tara Conklin, CPC, advises that “there is no longer a grace period ….once these changes go into effect, codes from our current 2006 coding manuals that might be effected by these changes will be obsolete. Use of the current coding manual after this date will result in denials.” If you haven’t done so already, practices should “educate your physicians and staff, particularly the billing staff so they can watch for denial errors on the part of private payers.” The payers should be using the right code for the righ date of service.
New coding books for ICD-9 and for CPT coding are an annual, necessary expense for a practice. Order early, and take advantage of free and low-cost continuing education programs out there.