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The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-018-3110-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The US health care system uses diagnostic codes for billing and reimbursement as well as quality assessment and measuring clinical outcomes. The US transitioned to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM) on October, 2015. Little is known about the impact of ICD-10-CM on internal medicine and medicine subspecialists.
We used a state-wide data set from Illinois Medicaid specified for Internal Medicine providers and subspecialists. A total of 3191 ICD-9-CM codes were used for 51,078 patient encounters, for a total cost of US $26,022,022 for all internal medicine. We categorized all of the ICD-9-CM codes based on the complexity of mapping to ICD-10-CM as codes with complex mapping could result in billing or administrative errors during the transition. Codes found to have complex mapping and frequently used codes (n = 295) were analyzed for clinical accuracy of mapping to ICD-10-CM. Each subspecialty was analyzed for complexity of codes used and proportion of reimbursement associated with complex codes.
Twenty-five percent of internal medicine codes have convoluted mapping to ICD-10-CM, which represent 22% of Illinois Medicaid patients, and 30% of reimbursements. Rheumatology and Endocrinology had the greatest proportion of visits and reimbursement associated with complex codes. We found 14.5% of ICD-9-CM codes used by internists, when mapped to ICD-10-CM, resulted in potential clinical inaccuracies.
We identified that 43% of diagnostic codes evaluated and used by internists and that account for 14% of internal medicine reimbursements are associated with codes which could result in administrative errors.