Medicare and other payors are mandating a conversion to the new coding standard, ICD-10 from ICD-9. Now what's in a number? Well, the new standard will allow for over 155,000 unique identifiers for diagnostic coding, whereas the current standard only allows for something over 9,000 diagnoses.
Converting from one to the other is a big deal since current fields in computer programs do not allow for the added field size.
What's more important to most providers is that the 'unfunded mandate" will cost a three man physician group 80,000 dollars to convert. KevinMD and DrVal point out this conundrum in the face of decreasing reimbursement, the push for EMR and the present economic meltdown.