ICD-10 CM Myths and Facts

Myth: The increased number of codes in ICD-10 CM will make the new coding system impossible to use.

Fact: The improved structure and specificity of ICD-10-CM will likely assist in developing increasingly sophisticated electronic coding tools that will help to more quickly select codes.   Because ICD-10-CM is much more specific, is more clinically accurate, and uses a more logical structure, it is much easier to use than ICD-9-CM.  Most practices use a relatively small number of diagnosis codes that are generally related to a specific type of specialty.


Myth: ICD-10 was developed a number of years ago, so it is probably already out of date.

Fact: Prior to the implementation of the partial code freeze, ICD-10-CM 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.  On October 1, 2016 regular updates to ICD-10 will resume.


Myth: Medically unnecessary diagnostic tests will need to be preformed to assign an ICD-10-CM code.

Fact: As with ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM codes are derived from documentation in the medical record.  Therefore, if a diagnosis has not yet been established, the condition should be coded to its highest degree of certainty (which may be a sign or symptom) when using both coding systems.  In fact, ICD-10-CM contains many more codes for signs and symptoms than ICD-9-CM, and it is better designed for use in ambulatory encounters when definitive diagnoses are often not yet known.


Myth: Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) will be replaced by ICD-10-PCS

Fact: ICD-10-PCS will only be used for facility reporting of hospital inpatient procedures and will not affect the use of CPT.