ICD-10 Implementation has arrived! Our health care system moved to the International Classification for Disease, 10th Revision – ICD-10 on October 1, 2015. According to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), “The change to ICD-10 allows you to capture more details about the health status of your patients and sets the stage for improved patient care and public health surveillance across our country.”

The University of Chicago Genetic Services Laboratory has completed its implementation and we are now ready to assist to make your transition smoother. While coders can look up codes in the same manner as ICD-9, there are some differences when applying an ICD-10 code. The ICD-10 codes have expanded detail, specialty and laterality. In times past, coders have had only one choice in ICD-9; however, ICD-10 offers multiple codes bringing the diagnosis to its highest level possible. Coders will be dependent on the specific documentation from the health care providers in order to code to this new highest level. 

Below, you will find some key comparisons between ICD-9 and ICD-10, for your knowledge base. We hope that this information is helpful.  If you should have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our billing department (youtlaw@bsd.chicago.edu).

  • While ICD-9 used 3-5 all numeric characters, ICD-10 uses 3-7 characters, both alpha and numeric
  • In ICD-9 codes the first character is either numeric or alpha (E and/or V codes), whereas in ICD-10 the 1st character is always alpha (all letters except U are used), and the 2nd character is numeric.
  • ICD-9 codes were general in definition score, while ICD-10 is more specific, requiring a greater knowledge of anatomy and physiology by the coder.