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EPtalk by Dr. Jayne 10/1/15

October 1, 2015 Dr. Jayne 2 Comments

ICD-10 Edition


I volunteered to take one for the team today, covering the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift so I could handle any of my practice’s ICD-10 issues personally. It’s usually pretty slow until 6 a.m. and lets me get some sleep in an incredibly comfortable recliner, so I figured I’d be able to get home and have my mini command center up and ready for my consulting clients by the time most of them started adding diagnoses to their charts.

Since we run 24×7, we decided to schedule a mini-downtime from midnight to 1 a.m. to do some testing and make sure everything switched over automatically as our vendor assured us it would. That’s one of the benefits of having hosted software – they do all the upgrades and handle the transition timeline. On the flip side, when things go bad, there’s not much you can do to fix it. We had prepared just about as well as anyone could and have been running dual coding for several months.

This has allowed us to shake out some problems with the ICD-9 to ICD-10 crosswalk and make sure that we were confident our most frequently used diagnoses were converting cleanly. The dual coding in our application is a little odd, though – it takes the ICD-9 code and maps it to SNOMED and then to ICD-10. I guess it’s not using the CMS General Equivalency Mappings, but something else under the hood. That progression would lead to some occasional oddities, but nothing too major had cropped up.

Although I’m not officially in charge of the EHR, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to kick the tires, but as they say, there’s no test like Production. We do a fair amount of workers’ compensation, so ICD-9 isn’t going away any time soon. We’ll still have to do some ongoing conversion to get those claims out the door.

My first surprise of the day occurred before midnight. Apparently some odd mapping was going on, where the ICD-9 code for a symptomatic venomous insect bite was being mapped over to the ICD-10 code specific to venomous snakes. Because the diagnosis code also drives the patient discharge instructions that are printed for them to take home, I had to fix it right away rather than leave it for the billers to take care of.

I also noticed some weirdness with our diagnosis favorites lists. Our discharge instructions for common conditions like sinusitis and bronchitis were no longer linking up correctly. I had someone re-test it about 30 minutes later and they were both working correctly, which led me to suspect that perhaps the vendor was doing some work leading up to the midnight deadline that we weren’t aware of. Alternatively, maybe they were switching everyone over on the Eastern time zone timeline regardless of where they were physically located.

The biggest problem I saw before midnight was one where somehow a diagnosis of “separated shoulder” became mapped over to O32.2xx1, which is “Maternal care for transverse and oblique lie, fetus 1,” which makes no sense whatsoever. We opened a support ticket and flagged the chart for follow up. That was about the time we were scheduled to drop to paper for an hour, so we went ahead and made the switch.

I only had two patients in progress when we went to paper, one for a laceration and the other stopping by to get a flu shot on the way home from work. Neither was a problem as far as documenting on paper, so I let our “official” IT people get on about testing the direct documentation of ICD-10 without dual coding. They quickly ran through our top 50 diagnoses without problems so we decided to go ahead and start documenting in the EHR again before any other patients showed up. I was eager to see how it would function, but the overnight was quiet, so I hit the recliner.

At about 5:30 a.m., we had a couple of patients, one of whom was a workers’ compensation patient coming by for a clearance before returning to work. The patient had already been in and was diagnosed with an ICD-9 code previously, so I just sent that back out on the claim without any conversion. Thank goodness for the “use previous diagnosis” button! The next couple of patients were for easily-documented conditions – cold symptoms and migraine. Both could have been treated at home, but unfortunately both employers required work notes for time missed. Sidebar: In my next life, I’d like to fix all the waste introduced into the healthcare system by employers requiring work notes.

My relief physician showed up early to see how bad it was going to be, but I didn’t have much data to provide an opinion. I signed out the now-empty board and headed home to get ready for my personal clients. The morning has been surprisingly quiet with only a handful of issues, mostly providers who needed help getting their favorite codes added. While researching a couple of issues, I came across some bizarre codes. One was T63.483 “Toxic effect of venom of other arthropod, assault” which I hope I never have to code in practice.

I’ve been monitoring Twitter and it looks like Athenahealth posted their first claim adjudication pretty early this morning. I’ve not heard much from other EHR vendors, but would be interested to hear how things are going both there and at the clearinghouses. We won’t know the true impact until claims make the full circle and payments start coming in.

How’s your ICD-10 going? Email me.

Email Dr. Jayne.

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Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. “seperated shoulder” crosswalking to “Maternal care for transverse and oblique lie, fetus 1” refers to a relatively common obstetric complication, shoulder dystocia. Not so weird, really.

  2. It was an AC joint separation in an adult – so should not have crosswalked. I could see it linking somehow if there were any labor or perinatal complication codes on the chart but not on a straightforward AC separation in an adult. Also it shouldn’t have crossed on a maternal care code – would have had to be a fetal care code since the fetus is the one with the shoulder dystocia rather than the mom.

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