Healthcare providers now have the tools to more accurately describe your medical condition and your care

As of October 1, 2015, hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide have started implementing a significant expansion of their hospital medical coding systems, as required by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The transition will hopefully go unnoticed by patients, but we wanted to provide you with an understanding of the change and how it might impact your care experience.

The coding system, known as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), is used worldwide for describing medical diagnoses and inpatient hospital procedures. The current version, ICD-9, has not been updated in more than 35 years. The new ICD-10 codes better reflect current medical practice, technology and procedures, allowing doctors and healthcare providers to select more detailed information about a patient’s disease, injury and treatment. The new system dramatically increases the number of codes available, moving from 18,000 in ICD-9 to 140,000 in ICD-10.

Now that healthcare providers have the ability to collect and include more detailed health information in your electronic medical records, patient registration and scheduling processes may take slightly longer than previous experiences. Some patients may also experience temporary issues with insurance providers that are not prepared to accept claims with ICD-10 codes, but these issues will be resolved between the insurance providers and the hospital.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is uniquely prepared for this change. We have been named one of the nation’s “Most Wired Hospitals” and have received national recognition for the implementation of our electronic medical record system.

Ultimately, ICD-10 will help improve our nation’s health care by providing healthcare providers with more accurate, detailed and standardized information. We appreciate your patience at we make this transition. Please read our FAQ below for more detailed answers to questions you may have.

This video explains the ICD-10 coding changes, produced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ICD-10?

ICD-10 stands for the Tenth Revision of the International Classification of Diseases. It is the worldwide code-set standard endorsed by the World Health Organization for describing medical diagnoses and inpatient hospital procedures.

These codes are used daily by healthcare providers to classify medical diagnoses and procedures, are part of most healthcare claims, and are essential to accurate and efficient healthcare management.

In October 2015, the federal government is requiring that all healthcare providers change from using ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes. The change will affect both inpatient services (patients admitted to the hospital) and outpatient services (emergency and observation services, outpatient surgery).

Why are hospitals changing to ICD-10?

The current ICD-9 code system is more than 35 years old and based on 1970s medicine and technology, limiting the ability of doctors and healthcare to accurately document patients' medical conditions. For example, ICD-9 does not differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, or distinguish Ebola from "other diseases spread by viruses."

ICD-10 allows for more detailed documentation about a patient’s condition or procedure. The number of diagnostic codes available to doctors in ICD-10 is expanding from 18,000 to 140,000. This new level of detail should help improve the quality of healthcare management and patient care.

How will the change to ICD-10 affect patients?

Physicians, healthcare providers, hospitals and insurance providers across the country have been preparing for this change, with the goal of minimizing the impact to continuity of care. However, as with any change of this magnitude, patients may experience some issues.

If insurance providers are not prepared to receive claims from healthcare providers that include ICD-10 codes, the claims may be denied. If you experience this, you do not need to do anything on your part. Your healthcare provider and your insurance provider will work together to resolve this issue on your behalf.

The registration and scheduling process may also take longer than usual, as healthcare providers now have the ability to collect and include more detailed health information in your electronic medical records.

What should I do if my claim is denied?

Some patients may experience denied claims if their insurance providers are not prepared to accept claims with ICD-10 codes from healthcare providers. 

You can contact your insurance provider to understand why a particular claim has been denied. If it involves ICD-10 coding, your insurance provider and your healthcare provider will resolve the issue on your behalf.