With less than a year to prepare for PDPM, ICD-10 coding should be a primary target of education and training for providers. The codes selected and where they’re identified on the MDS will paint a picture of the resident. In order to have the resources to provide successful care, that picture must be as detailed and accurate as possible.

Thanks to search engine crosswalks and funny memes, the 2015 transition to ICD-10 did not leave any permanent scars, and most of us can now recall treatment codes with ease. However, ICD-10’s role in PDPM has shuffled the deck. Suddenly, we are questioning our own knowledge and wondering if we have the skill set to be successful.  

As we prepare for the transition to PDPM, it’s important to remember, we’re all in the same boat: ICD-10 coding on the MDS directly maps our patients into case mix categories for payment. There is no buffer between coding and reimbursement. Coding IS reimbursement for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, nursing and non-therapy ancillary. CMS says the primary patient diagnosis allows us to identify the patient’s unique conditions and goals which should be the primary driver for care planning and delivery.

Many facilities already have the ingredients for a recipe of success: a collaborative effort between nursing and therapy is key in identifying each active condition on admission and changes in condition throughout the episode of care.  Let’s consider these additional idioms:

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

  • Having a designated ICD-10 coder is an awesome resource; however, never discount the input from the other skilled professionals interacting with the patient. Coders provide accuracy, but clinicians, physicians, and dietitians provide the details to hone that accuracy.

The devil is in the details

  • If you’ve ever wondered whether each element on the MDS mattered, PDPM has given you the answer. “Additional Active Diagnoses”, I8000’s title, does not scream “I’m important!”, but its first line: I8000A will map case mix for physical, occupational, and speech therapy components. Beyond this, Sections I and J impact all five clinical case mix categories some of which are check boxes, others have clinical category and comorbidity mapping tools.

The ball is in your court

  • Begin to put systems in place to identify active conditions of the resident. Therapists perform a full system evaluation, engage their input for areas which may have been missed. During daily stand up or triple check, include clinical condition conversations to quickly identify changes which may need to be reflected in coding.

Strong partnerships for understanding and implementing processes for ICD-10 is critical. As stated, coding impacts PT, OT, SLP, nursing, and non-therapy ancillary case mix groups. Accurate coding ensures resource availability for successful outcomes and patient satisfaction. Just remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Lt’s start conversations now.

Emily Rampmaier, MCD, CCC-SLP, is the Director of Clinical Education at Reliant Rehabilitation.