Making Code Conversion a Perfect ICD-10

At a hefty 155,000 codes, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) makes anything short of War & Peace read like a fortune cookie.

So, with the deadline for the industry-wide conversion from ICD-9 to ICD-10 looming, the Air Force Medical Operations Agency picked TeAM to ensure not a single code gets lost in translation.

TeAM will stand up the agency’s program office for ICD-10 transition. Valued partner Malama, LLC will serve as a subcontractor on the San Antonio-based effort.

“We are proud to help AFMOA in this difficult endeavor,” TeAM CEO and Air Force veteran Charles G. Davis said. “We believe our expertise in program management and long history of supporting MHS initiatives makes us the ideal candidate for ICD-10 conversion training.”

The conversion to ICD-10 ranks as one of MHS’ top priorities. Its use was mandated in 2008 by the Department of Health and Human Services, which set an adoption deadline, currently of Oct. 1, 2013. Then-HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt characterized the transition as a “giant step forward toward developing a health care system that focuses on quality and affordability through the implementation of health information technology.”

TeAM and Malama provide subject matter experts to create training documentation, including a quick reference guide in print and digital formats, construct a robust web site, and publish guidelines for the use of ICD-10. Malama president Darilyn Cochran will also provide expertise. Cochran previously served as the data quality program manager at the Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force base and was also part of the team that stood up AFMOA.

The ICD-10 classification system was adopted by the World Health Organization in 1990 and its use in several WHO member nations began in 1994. Due to the size of the United States’ health care industry and its early adoption of electronic health records, implementation proved a daunting challenge.

At 155,000 codes, ICD-10 adoption is more than simply a one-to-one conversion of the 17,000-code ICD-9, though many instances do exist. For example, what is known as a tonsillectomy in ICD-9 is called a “resection of tonsils” in ICD-10.

More importantly, the new classification system will allow for the recording of new procedures and allow more detail to be recorded in each health record.  ICD-10 allows seven characters in each code, while ICD-9 allowed, at most, five. The increase in available codes also helps alleviate the strain ICD-9 faces, as it is projected to run out of space in 2012.

The AFMOA ICD-10 transition program management office will help lay the ground work for successful implementation and training across the Air Force. AFMOA will be responsible forproviding the expertise in the coordination and integration of multiple teams, projects, and technologies, coordinating cross communication to improve synergy, and developing ICD-10 templates, forms, and tools.

About TeAM, Inc.

Founded in 1985, TeAM is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Veteran-Owned Small Disadvantaged Business (VOSDB). TeAM maintains a long and productive relationship with the Department of Defense and numerous federal agencies. Located in Falls Church, Va., with a satellite office in San Antonio, TX, TeAM is organized to be accessible and responsive to clients' needs, matching superior service with the latest industry methodologies and technologies. Coupling decades of experience with a firm commitment to client needs, TeAM offers an unparalleled combination of small-business agility with big-business expertise.

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About Malama, LLC

Malama, LLC is an Economically Disadvantaged Woman-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) based in San Antonio withrootsin Hawaii and the National Capital Area. An emerging company, Malama is led by founders Darilyn and Robert Cochran, Information Management/Information Technology experts with more than 40 years experience proudly serving the needs of the Federal Government. With a long and lauded history in the Military Health Care arena and agile small-business management, Malama offers best-in-class IM/IT support and responsive management without compromising on cost.