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Press Release

Area Health Care Forces Address Complex, Industry-wide Coding Challenge

IBC to present at Pennsylvania Medical Society webinar to assist physicians in preparing for ICD-10

Philadelphia, PA - January 25, 2012 - Two of the Commonwealth's leading health care organizations, Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and the Pennsylvania Medical Society, announced today they are working together to help physicians, hospitals, and other health care partners in Pennsylvania prepare for what many consider the biggest health care information transformation in modern day history - adopting a new system for medical and hospital billing that expands the number of codes from about 24,000 to 140,000. This February 1 at 12 noon, IBC will present a webinar hosted by the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) for area physicians who are grappling with the complexity of switching to the new coding system, known as ICD-10.

A federal regulation adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2009 requires that all physicians, hospitals, health insurers, other health care providers, and organizations that handle medical billing, switch from the current system of coding and classifying diagnoses and procedures - known as ICD-9 - to the updated ICD-10 coding system by October 1, 2013.

ICD-10 drastically expands the number of codes so that physicians and hospitals can much more accurately code procedures, adding more specificity about the causes of injuries or diseases. This is expected to result in more accurate claims payments and better information for identifying medical trends, public health needs, epidemic outbreaks, and bioterrorism events.

For example, the existing ICD-9 coding system may have just one or a limited number of codes for a broken arm. Under ICD-10, there could be multiple codes for the same condition, distinguishing, for example, which arm was fractured, the precise nature of the fracture, and whether a delay in healing occurred. This conversion will drive business and system changes throughout the health care industry.

Through the webinar, PAMED members will have the opportunity to hear firsthand from Joan Jennerjahn, the vice president of Provider Network Operations at IBC who leads its ICD-10 program.  In 2011,  Jennerjahn was named among the nation's top health care IT executives by eMids Technologies. Jennerjahn will provide insight to IBC's transition program, including the company's focus on updating internal systems and processes, training employees, and communicating with the physicians and hospitals in its network to prepare for this transition.

Jennerjahn will also review the industry's ICD-10 planning recommendations and ICD-10's potential impact on physicians, while helping to clarify how to submit claims using ICD-10 and minimize any disruption to physicians' reimbursement.

"We have surveyed our network and have heard from many physicians and practice managers about their progress and concerns about the ICD-10 transition," says Jennerjahn. "We want to collaborate with physicians early and often, so together we can make this a smooth and successful transition in an effort to provide access to even higher quality and more efficient health care for their patients and our members."

"The complexity of the transition requires immediate action to address the business and clinical issues associated with the change," says Lara Brooks, PAMED's in-house expert on ICD-10, who will facilitate the webinar. "The ICD-10 conversion will affect nearly all provider systems and business processes." PAMED will continue to support its members throughout their planning and transition to ICD-10.    

This webinar is a free, exclusive benefit available only to PAMED members. For registration information, please visit the Medical Society's multi media webinars page.

About the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED)
The patient-doctor relationship has been the priority of the Pennsylvania Medical Society since its founding in 1848. While there are always issues being debated about health systems and reform, the physician members of the Medical Society continue to focus on better health for all Pennsylvanians. To learn more about the Pennsylvania Medical Society, visit its website at www.pamedsoc.org or its patient website at www.myfamilywellness.org.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.1 million people. For 74 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Visit us at ibx.com. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter@ibx.

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