The Smart Medical Practice

ICD-10 Codes: 2018 ICD-10 Code Review: Medicare’s GEM Crossover


The shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding has resulted in significant backlogs for many medical practices. A reliable ICD-10 code search tool can help alleviate those backlogs, but only if you select the right program.

We’re looking at the top ICD-10 code search tools, reviewing them one by one so you can better understand what they offer. Today we’re digging deep into Medicare’s General Equivalency Mapping (GEM) software offering.

Try For Free

ICD-10 code
Consider GEM for a cash-strapped office.

GEM offers a completely free version, which makes it attractive to many struggling medical practices. If you’re already having trouble getting paid due to medical billing issues, you likely don’t want to shell out money — even for a program that might resolve the issue.

You can get GEM as a free or paid version. The free option doesn’t come with a price tag attached, but it’s extremely basic. You won’t find it useful on a day-to-day basis because you’ll return too many possible ICD-10 codes for every ICD-9 compatibility search.

Don’t Risk Denied Claims

ICD-10 code
You make patients’ lives better — you should get paid for it.

Whether you use the free or paid version of GEM, you might still wind up with incorrect codes. The system doesn’t differentiate between billable and non-billable codes, for instance, which can create a headache for your physicians as well as your coding staff.

Denied claims can severely restrict cash flow, especially in small offices. Other programs, such as PracticeSuite offer far more sophisticated ICD-10 code search tools that reduce the chances of denials and help your staff actually learn ICD-10 codes.

Select the Right Code

It’s true that you can find every ICD-10 code using GEM. They’re all listed in the database, and you can use the crosswalk tool to help bridge the gap between ICD-9 and ICD-10.

However, availability doesn’t equal accuracy. The abundance of codes in ICD-10 compared to ICD-10 makes each diagnostic code far more specific. Without the right software, you can’t make informed choices. Additionally, you’ll run into headaches with patients and insurance companies, whether you’re working with Medicare or a private agency.

Give Up Detailed Super Bills

While you can create super bills with GEM, you can’t use the program to create e-Super Bills. Additionally, the program doesn’t offer features to separate rarely used codes from never-used codes; nor does it allow you to use alphabetical or tabular methods to create Super Bills. Instead, you’re left with the general crosswalk experience, which, as mentioned above, brings its own set of problems to the table.

GEM might offer a simple way to search for ICD-10 codes, but it’s actually too simple. That’s why we ranked it second on our list of code search tools. You need a more robust software package that helps you learn ICD-10 while reducing claim denials and improving productivity.

PracticeSuite offers this very thing. Best of all, you can choose from many different editions of this software program, including a free version. To increase accuracy and efficiency with medical coding and billing, sign up for our free edition and learn more about our award-winning Practice Management platform.


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