Why are there so many ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Changes Again This Year?

Why are there so many ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS Changes Again This Year?

Article excerpted from the September 2017 issue of For The Record magazine. The ICD-10 changes for FY2018  are effective for discharges October 1, 2017 and after.

Just when you were getting comfortable with our new best friend ICD-10, CMS has loaded us up with a significant number of changes to the codes and the guidelines. Why is this?

While the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets are officially only two years old, their first two years of “life” were spent in a four-year code set “freeze” while we prepared for implementation. During the freeze, no major changes were allowed. The 2017 update was extensive but still contained only the most important updates necessary for code set use.

For 2018, we’ll see the remainder of the approved changes. These changes are meant to ensure both the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets truly represent diagnoses and procedures documented for discharges and patient encounters. There are over 700 changes to the ICD-10-CM code set and over 6000 changes to the ICD-10-PCS code set. Changes include additions, deletions and revisions to maintain and improve the accuracy of code assignment.

Changes to the code sets and guidelines are to be expected. Understanding the complexity and implications of the changes and testing their flow through your coding and billing systems are part and parcel of a coder’s job.


Looking for a comprehensive and insightful review of the October 1, 2017 Code Updates? Consider Lynn’s online courses: ICD-10-CM Code Update and ICD-10-PCS Code Update available from Libman Education. Learn more here.


About the Author

Lynn Kuehn is president of Kuehn Consulting, LLC, and a nationally recognized authority on ICD-10-PCS coding. Lynn was elected to the AHIMA Board of Directors, served as faculty for the original ICD-10 “Train-the-Trainers” program, and authored or co-authored several of AHIMA’s most popular books including ICD-10-PCS: An Applied Approach, recognized as the “go-to” resource for learning and mastering ICD-10-PCS. As a Subject Matter Expert with Libman Education, Lynn’s unique and engaging teaching methods as well as her leadership on the importance of accuracy and efficiency in coding is recognized by clients and students throughout the country.

Comments are closed.