ICD-10 FAQs for Chiropractors

Dr. Evan Gwilliam wrote the article below for ICD10Monitor.com. Dr. Gwilliam will be teaching a 6 hour course specific to Chiropractic about ICD-10 for the FCC in several cities this year. Click here for more information!


Written by  Evan M. Gwilliam, DC, CPC, NCICS, CCPC, CCCPC

Do you remember those bands from the 1970s and 80s who only came up with one great hit? You know the songs word for word when you hear them now, but you can’t seem to remember the name of the band, because they never came up with anything else. These are the so-called “one-hit wonders.”

As the director of education for the ChiroCode Institute and the only chiropractor who is also an AAPC-certified ICD-10 instructor, I have been invited to speak in dozens of states to help train doctors of chiropractic, who, unlike many health professionals, do not have certified professional coders on staff. In other words, I have become one of those one-hit wonders. I feel like a bit of a rock star who knows that the ICD-10 song is my only hit, but heck, I may as well enjoy my short-lived fame. As I write this on an airplane, I am en route to speak in two states, one audience expected to number about 370 and the other 400. Both of these are “sold-out” events, and as such, I have been invited back to speak three more times in both states. I am pretty much booked like this every week for the next six months.

A few weeks ago, I taught a webinar on ICD-10 for chiropractors. It too was “sold out,” with a maximum of 1,001 participants. I agreed to respond to any unanswered questions that were posted to the chat during the event, but once I received the 18-page list I immediately regretted my offer. Listed below is a selection of some of the most common questions I hear at my events. I post it here in the hopes that I can just refer future audiences to this and minimize my repetition. Since there were so many questions, this piece is part one of three.

ICD-10 seems to have suddenly come to the forefront in the world of healthcare, and it is expected to remain there for the next year or so. I predict that five years from now, folks will wonder why it was such a big deal. It will be very familiar to everyone, much like those great one-hit wonder rock songs from the 1980s.

Questions Asked by Attendees

Q: Do you anticipate that the specialty ICD-10 books will need to be updated after the Medicare LCD list is made public?
A: No. The Medicare LCD is drawn from the same tabular list found in most specialty books because the codes were frozen in 2012. Products such as “commonly used codes” lists may change a little because they were created based on too many unknowns. Regardless, the tabular list in specialty books will remain unchanged and should include everything chiropractors will need.

Q: Where can you find a common code list?
A: In the ChiroCode ICD-10 book we created about 12 pages of commonly used codes, sorted by anatomical regions. These codes were selected based on commonly used ICD-9 equivalents and by just browsing the code set to look for new codes that chiropractors might use. Watch for the latest Medicare LCD with the ICD-10 codes that chiropractors will be able to submit on claims beginning Oct. 1. It is anticipated that most payors will use similar codes.

Q: Is there one source to go to look up ICD-10, or should we look it up in multiple books?
A: You can purchase the full ICD-10-CM code set from several publishers or download it for free from CDC.gov. Most chiropractors will probably only need a few hundred of the codes at most. The ChiroCode ICD-10 book contains about 12,000 of the 68,000 codes available. If you are in a multidisciplinary practice, you may want to purchase other specialty books or the complete code set. You can also search the code set and access general equivalency mappings, or GEMs (for code mapping), with the free FindACode app on a tablet or smartphone.

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