Preparing HIM Students for ICD-10

The ICD-10-CM/PCS final rule requires a major transition in academic programs as well as in the field. Institutions currently teaching ICD-9-CM in baccalaureate, associate, and certificate programs must transition their curricula to ICD-10-CM/PCS in coordination with the industry’s transition to the new coding systems. Educators will be among the first in the country who need to learn ICD-10-CM/PCS.

The April practice brief “Transitioning to ICD-10-CM/PCS—An Academic Timeline” outlines how and when HIM academic programs should begin integrating ICD-10-CM/PCS education into their curriculum. The article lays out the academic transition into three phases: preparation, hybrid, and full implementation. The countdown to integrating ICD-10-CM/PCS begins on August 1, 2010, when educators should start expanding curriculum content on courses affected by ICD-10-CM/PCS changes.

By August 1, 2012, certificate programs (one year or less) should have completely integrated ICD-10-CM/PCS in all coding courses, and associate and baccalaureate programs should have completely integrated ICD-10-CM/PCS in second-year coding courses.

The article includes a readiness checklist to help educators ensure their academic institutions are ready for the move. It also outlines training opportunities for the current HIM work force staff.

“The key to a graceful evolution of all curriculum throughout the ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation is early planning for curriculum revisions, creative use of teaching tools, and adequate faculty preparation,” the authors write.


  1. How do we know ICD 10 won’t be delayed yet again? I’m not trying to sound negative, but it’s been pushed back in the past.

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  2. Is ICD-10 integrated in AHIMA’s Basic Coding curriculum? If not, what is the projection?
    I fall in the group of career changers who’d like to get on it right away but find that education in a soon to be obsolete ICD-9 presents a unique obstacle to effective change.

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  3. The timeframe for students should reflect how quickly you are going through classes – full time or part time makes a difference, and whether you are in a one year certificate program or two year degree program also makes a difference. For example, if the student is taking a one year certificate program, then Fall of 2012 and Spring of 2013 classes need to be ICD-10. If you are taking classes sooner than that, you’ll learn ICD-9 with additional time on ICD-10 (but to a lesser extent). This is the hybrid teaching the timeline refers to.

    For students, ICD-10 is a great opportunity to “level the playing field” since no one will have years of experience with ICD-10.

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  4. On January 16, 2009 the Final Rule for ICD-10-CM/PCS was published with a compliance date of October 1, 2013. The effective date for the new code sets and the electronic transaction standards was March 17, 2009. A determination was made that the effective date will NOT be extended and the comment period will not be reopened for these two rules. The effective date is the date that the policies in the regulation take effect and new policies are considered to be adopted. Therefore, ICD-10-CM/PCS will be implemented effective October 1, 2013

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