Outpatient coders currently report procedures using CPT codes. That won’t change after the switch to ICD-10.
However, some facilities currently require outpatient coders to also report procedures using ICD-9-CM Volume 3 codes the same way inpatient coders currently report procedures. So will those outpatient coders have to learn to code in ICD-10-PCS the same way inpatient coders will?
That will end up being an organization-by-organization decision. Can you budget for training outpatient coders on ICD-10-PCS? Can you find the time to train them? Is there any benefit of training them?
The answer to that last question is yes, according to Donna Smith, RHIA, a senior consultant with 3M.
“Don’t discount outpatient coders,” Smith says. After all, they understand CPT coding and coders who get CPT do better with ICD-10-PCS.
Coders who use CPT codes are also a great resource, Smith says. They are used to looking for things that inpatient coders don’t have to look for now. Outpatient coders can help inpatient coders pull apart an operative report and break down the procedure. That in turn will help inpatient coders determine a root operation and build an ICD-10-PCS code.