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CDI: Just Tell Me What to Say

ICD-10: I Just Don't Want To!

Published November 14, 2011 2:00 PM by Alice Zentner

There is some speculation and anecdotal evidence suggesting that a substantial number of the more experienced, long-term coders are going to retire rather than retooling for ICD-10. While there will be some that take the early retirement route, it is my contention that these numbers will be few.

Coding is a puzzle and has always had new changes...every October 1. Furthermore, coders are inherently problem solvers. Most, I believe, will step up to the challenge that ICD-10 and the changes to CDI will bring.

Keep in mind you may still need a few top of the line ICD-9 coders for some time to come. For starters not all health plans must transition to ICD-10. Non-covered entities do not maintain HIPAA compliance can opt to remain on ICD-9 as they do not send electronic claims. There are only a few of these:

  • State Workers Compensation
  • Property and Casualty insurance health plans
  • Disability Insurance Programs

There will also be RAC audits with three-year look back periods-another area for ICD-9 coding expertise. Finally, ICD-9 coders could be placed in the centralized business office to help with ICD-9 denials.

Given the scarcity of experienced coders, it may behoove you to incent some ICD-10 naysayers to remain on board for a few more years. It's just another staffing strategy to consider during these tumultuous times.


This was very interesting. I would have thought that all coders would be excited to learn the new coding system. I do see why some of the older coders ready to retire wouldn't want to learn it. I am just learning it myself and see some of the frustration with being able to pick the right code. I hope we can find great coders to stay through these changes and a better way to implement the changes.

Marjorie Teague, Outpatient surgery - Ins. Verification, Eye surgery & laser center of sebring January 29, 2017 12:20 PM
Sebring FL

Interesting article on the future of coders in the healthcare industry, with the deadline for ICD 10 migration nearing t is important for coders to completely resolve any issues with regards to ICD 10 migration prior to complete adoption.Just read an interesting whitepaper, ICD 9 to ICD 10 transition on strategies for successful transition to the new coding format @

Aditya Jayaram November 15, 2011 10:36 AM

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