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Independence Blue Cross stands ready as new ICD-10 medical coding takes effect

Philadelphia, PA – Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services officially implemented the 10th revision of the International Classifications of Disease (ICD), known as ICD-10, a new, more detailed disease coding system used to identify patient health conditions. As the nation transitions to the new coding system — which was put in place to capture more modern medical advancements, as well as give public health researchers better data for reporting and tracking — Independence Blue Cross (Independence) stands ready and will continue to follow guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

“At Independence we are ready for the change to ICD-10 and expect a smooth transition,” said Rich Snyder, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at Independence. “The new codes are expected to have a positive impact on our health care system by capturing more precise medical diagnoses and ultimately doing a better job of measuring quality of care, not just quantity.”

Prior to the transition to ICD-10, the United States had been using a more than 30 year-old coding system with approximately 14,400 diagnostic codes that affect both payment and quality measures. With the implementation of IDC-10 those numbers increase to roughly 68,000 diagnostic codes — offering a much more accurate description of patients’ health conditions.

“The transition to ICD-10 represents one of the largest conversions the health care community has been faced with in recent years,” said Dr. Snyder. “To ensure that we remain supportive to physicians, who need to learn a new system, throughout the transition, we will continue to review all of our systems and processes as ICD-10 unfolds.”

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 10 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more, visit and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Media contact
Diana Quattrone
Independence Blue Cross
215-241-3113 (office)