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As ICD-10 Deadline Looms, Healthcare Providers Fret

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 7, 2014

ICD-10 was supposed to take effect on Oct. 1, 2013 but the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 rolled back the deadline for a year after providers complained. MGMA has not called for another implementation delay, but Tennant says the likelihood of a smooth transition diminishes by the day.

"Can it get done in time? Let's just say that everything came together in September. That is not enough time," he says. "The industry is a little like the Titanic. It can turn, but very slowly. We are concerned that there won't be enough time for testing. The government experienced that with healthcare.gov."

"If you don't test, you run the risk of problems," Tennant says. "And ICD-10 impacts every part of healthcare on the practice side, the clinical, the administrative, the entire revenue cycle. So, if things don't go smoothly it could dramatically impact cash flow for practices and ultimately that could impact patient care."

Flipping the switch to ICD-10 will come at the same time that providers are grappling with interoperability and other complex issues under Meaningful Use Stage 2 that must be implemented to avoid financial penalties. In addition, no one really knows how the first full year of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will play out for providers as the healthcare sector continues its shift towards population health, value-based payments and accountable care, and other fundamental changes.

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1 comments on "As ICD-10 Deadline Looms, Providers Fret"


Harry Goldsmith, DPM (2/7/2014 at 11:10 AM)
2014 has been set up as a "perfect storm" with demands for change and increased regulation above and beyond, in my opinion, what providers - whether in solo practice, small groups, or large groups - will be able to efficiently handle. ICD-10, indeed, will be implemented on October 1, 2014. The question that should be asked is, why does the United State feel it is critical to require the 6 and 7 character for many of the coding? I would suggest - and I know several medical organizations have also commented to this point - that CMS/CDC suspend the use of the 6 and 7 characters for x years allowing providers to transition smoothly from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The 6 and 7 characters represent redundant information already available in CPT coding and the medical record. The burdens associated with applying the 6 and 7 characters (when required) are many including documentation (charge ticket/superbill development and use), the bogging down of workflow efficiencies from provider to coder/biller, as well as adding to the complexity of the business-side of medicine. No other country added additional characters for the primary purpose of 3rd party datamining. CMS/CDC should "toggle off" the need for these extra characters that have nothing to do with altering immediate and practical treatment outcomes.