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As ICD-10 Deadline Looms, Healthcare Providers Fret

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 7, 2014

Russ Branzell, CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, doesn't believe the ICD-10 implementation deadline should roll back again, but he concedes that providers have too much heaped on their plates all at once.

"We need to allow providers and hospitals to really focus on ICD-10," he says, "but we are also concerned that there are too many competing initiatives that are converting around the same time frame—everything from meaningful use, security requirements, ACOs and population health—all of this is converging at the same time and distracting from getting ICD-10 appropriately resource staffed, process improved and implemented."

Instead of rolling back the ICD-10 deadline for a second time, Branzell says the federal government should give providers another six months or longer to implement Meaningful Use Stage 2 before suffering any financial penalties.

"In a medium-sized medical group, if you have too many competing initiatives for caregivers, there is not a lot of focus on anything. And with ICD-10 there so much that still needs to be done, especially on the provider end, training and understanding the documentation requirements and the new systems. If they have to do that while they are trying to figure out Meaningful Use Stage 2, something has to give."

Branzell believes that many providers will opt to delay Meaningful Use Stage 2 and suffer the penalties as they attempt to launch ICD-10.

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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.