CMS will switch to ICD-10 starting next month, and experts say that the larger set of medical billing codes could ease Medicare secondary payer compliance for workers’ comp claims. Starting October 1st, medical providers will switch from ICD-9, which includes about 17,000 diagnosis and procedure codes, to ICD-10, which includes more than 155,000 diagnosis and procedure codes. Many ICD-10 codes also specify the types, locations and severity of conditions and injuries, a level of specificity that could potentially streamline communication in injured workers’ care. While HIPAA law exempts workers’ comp programs from medical privacy compliance, the Department of Health and Human Services acknowledged in its rule demarcating the affected parties of the ICD-10 switch that the new codes likely would have an impact on workers’ comp. Most in the industry expect workers’ comp insurers to eventually make the switch, especially if they frequently handle MSAs.
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