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As ICD-10 Deadline Looms, Healthcare Providers Fret

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 7, 2014

He says the previous delay to ICD-10 implementation in 2012 was done so far in advance that providers had yet to spend a lot of money on the project. "Now a lot of organizations have command centers and teams dedicated to this and they have already invested in training resources, all of which is in place for Oct. 1. What do you do with all of that? Shut it all down? That would be very expensive."

Tennant says the federal government needs to prepare some sort of contingency plan or a rollback for ICD-10 if the Oct. 1 deadline proves to be untenable. "They have to do something quickly rather than wait until the ninth hour and announce something in late September. Better to do it now to prepare for the transition," he says.

"They frankly haven't even created an environment where physicians are confident about why the government is moving toward this new code set. There is no evidence to suggest that it improves clinical performance. There is no evidence that there is a return on investment which is staggering when you consider the cost of this for practices. What we have learned in the last few months is that you have to be ready for major transitions. And if you're not, they must be put on hold."


John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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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.