The news just gets worse. "Every expert in the industry has been advising people to do more than just treat this as a software upgrade, because there were, or there are, potential business benefits to be gained, but only if you actually embed ICD-10 coding into your business processes," says Jordan Battani, who runs a think tank on regulatory changes and trends for Computer Sciences Corporation, a systems integrator.
How long will it take CMS to figure out its part? "I don't know," Battani told me, "and I'm really glad I don't work there this week."
Another consultant, like Battani, is urging his provider clients to pause, take stock of their ICD-10 efforts, and redeploy resources to more pressing tasks if possible, until CMS has weighed in.
"A lot of the clinical documentation in ICD-9 was not all accurate," says Fletcher Lance, national healthcare leader and vice president of global consulting firm North Highland. "There was about a 20, 25 percent error rate there, so we're encouraging clients to go back and work on that, and protect that revenue and get the coding right in this interim period as a very practical step as something to do while we learn more from CMS."
A Silver Lining #JustKidding
In the midst of all this uncertainty, on the eve of April Fools' Day, former ONC head Farzad Mostashari tweeted, "Only silver lining to the #ICD10delays? Putting to bed the over-used 'perfect storm' mantra."