The Smart Medical Practice

Physicians Share Their Feedback Regarding ICD-10 and Insurance Companies and Medicare


One of the major concerns among medical professionals about the transition to the 10th revision of the International Classification of Disease (ICD-10) was the potential for long payment delays as a result of inadequate training and EHR software that hadn’t been updated in time for the Oct. 1, 2015 rollout.

Now that practices have 10 months under the new classification system, we decided to check in with doctors in a variety of specialties to find out if they’d experienced any delays or had any war stories to share. We also asked them if they could share any advantages or disadvantages with the new classification system. Here’s what our docs had to say:

Many providers were predicting major delays in the aftermath of ICD-10. Do you have any stories about your transition to ICD-10? Can you list one advantage and one disadvantage of the new system so far?

Our story is boring – everything has been fine. I didn’t like having to purchase a new set of codes for the billing system, but we haven’t had any issues. It took a while to get used to the new codes, but it wasn’t a problem.

– Dr. Mark Pleatman is a general surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive general and bariatric surgery.

We haven’t had any issues. Initially, there might have been a slight lag in payment, especially among some plans, but overall it did not create any significant cash-flow issues. I see only advantages. It is far easier to code and to code more accurately. I like how I can put a description in and there will be an ICD-10 code for it. That was not the case with ICD-9. There are no disadvantages from my perspective.

– Dr. Cynthia Thaik is the Medical Director for the Holistic Healing Heart Center in Burbank, Calif. The Harvard-trained cardiologist is also a Health & Wellness Speaker and the author of Your Vibrant Heart.

We have converted but I had an epidural denied because the first diagnosis was the lumbar complaint, the second was the cervical complaint. The case evaluator would not accept the second diagnosis but kept saying that there was no reason to do a cervical epidural injection for a lumbar diagnosis. I really see no advantages other than if we comply we are rewarded. As to disadvantages, conversion has cost me thousands in EMR cost and hundreds of thousands in lost patient revenue.

– Todd Jaffe M.D., is the president and owner of Brevard Pain Management in Melbourne, Fla. He is board certified in Anesthesiology, Addiction Medicine and subspecialty certified in pain medicine through the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Not really. There have been some rare situations, when, for example, there is no code just for a foreign body – but I had to specify what kind it was (I had to remove the piercing – the patient had pierced cheek) – so I had to come up with something that would sound close to what they have codes for. Maybe some advantages – there are some codes that would justify lab studies more easily (screening for cancer, or screening for endocrine) – these codes were not as defined in ICD-9

– Dr. Nickolai Talanin has been published more than 40 times in leading professional journals on issues covering skincare and skin diseases. He currently works as a dermatologist in Centreville, Va.

Yes. I believe our experience has been unique, in that there were no six-month delays in payments. But, it is not over yet. One of the advantages is that we’ve had no delays in payment due to coding problems. A disadvantage is that it’s still a bit confusing, with ADS extensions.

– Dr. Ernest Bloom is a Board Certified Dermatologist at California Skin Institute Alameda. He treats both adult and pediatric patients, concentrating on providing the best therapy for medical and cosmetic skin issues.

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