ICD-9 Update

As a leader in radiation oncology billing, Periop strives to keep its clients informed of the latest code changes to the International Classification of Diseases, which is just about to have its 9th edition updated for the final time. The current edition ICD-9-CM, has been in use since 1979, and was originally intended purely for epidemiological purposes, not billing purposes. This makes the final ICD-9 update particularly historic, as the medical community awaits the first all-new ICD of the 21st Century. When the ICD-10 is released in October of next year, it will cause sweeping changes in the way radiation oncology billing is managed.

The final changes to ICD-9-CM codes will be implemented on October 1, 2013, remaining in effect until the ICD-10 compliance date 12 months later. Pat Brooks of the CMS Hospital and Ambulatory Policy Group said of the transition:

“For those of us who have been maintaining ICD-9-CM codes since the code set’s implementation in 1979, this final ICD-9-CM code update is a historic occasion… we look forward to the implementation and maintenance of ICD-10 in 2014.”

ICD-9 changes

The ICD-9 update is small-scale, with no changes to radiation oncology coding and very few changes overall. It will make only one Emergency Medicine revision to the previous edition of the manual. Further revisions consist solely of new diseases and technologies.

The manual will still consist of three volumes, with 1 and 2 used by physicians to assign diagnosis codes and Volume 3 used by hospitals to report inpatient procedures and resource utilization.


The ICD-10-CM will replace Volumes 1 and 2 of the ICD-9. The ICD-10-PCS will replace Volume 3 of the ICD-9. Like its predecessor, ICD-10 was developed by the World Health Organization, and has been used by hospitals for death reports since 1999. All healthcare professionals must be fully transitioned by the ICD-10 compliance date of October 1, 2014.

The announcement of mandatory transition was first made by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in January 2009. Scheduled for implementation this year, the manual was delayed due to industry concerns about meeting the deadline, and the HHS pushed the ICD-10 compliance date back by a year. After the new date passes, transactions submitted with ICD-9 codes will be rejected.

Most healthcare professionals support the implementation of the ICD-10. Physicians broadly agree that the ICD-9 code sets are outdated and no longer applicable to modern treatment, reporting and payment processes. Countries around the world have been adopting the ICD-10 since 1990, and the ICD-9 no longer reflects the advances made in medical technology since its implementation in 1979.

Nevertheless, transition will be a complicated process. Because the ICD-10 must be used for reporting diagnoses in all clinical situations, one of the biggest hurdles facing health care providers, payers, and clearinghouses is the need to be fully compliant with the regulation. Payers are expected to require ICD-10 codes on transactions submitted via any method.

Periop makes the transition to ICD-10 hassle-free

As the ICD-9 update makes way for the ICD-10 compliance date, healthcare providers are looking to efficiently manage the transition. Periop have been streamlining billing procedures for more than 500 providers since 1997. Our state-of-the-art software ensures practices can stay on top of all changes to radiation oncology coding.

The number of codes will increase to 150,000, threatening to overwhelm ill-prepared healthcare providers. Periop offers the solution. We can facilitate a steady transition without any expensive interruptions to service. To learn more about how Periop can help you manage the upcoming switch from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10, call 888.709.4508.