As ICD-10 Deadline Looms, Healthcare Providers Fret

John Commins, February 7, 2014

Healthcare providers, payers, the government, and other players in the ICD-10 changeover are not working in a cohesive and coordinated fashion and won't be ready for the transition in eight months, says an MGMA policy expert.

The looming Oct. 1 implementation for ICD-10 has healthcare providers antsy about a potentially rocky transition to the new diagnostic code set in the midst of other fundamental and profound changes to the healthcare sector.

A Medical Group Management Association survey of more than 570 practices representing more than 21,000 physicians finds that less than 10% of them had made significant progress when ranking their overall readiness for Oct. 1, up from 4.7% in June, 2013.

MGMA Senior Policy Advisor Robert Tennant says providers, payers, the government, and other players in the ICD-10 movement are not working in a cohesive and coordinated fashion.

"ICD-10 is like a cascade. Things can't happen until other things happen," Tennant says. "What we are finding through research and discussions with our members and industry [is that] the pieces aren't coming together as quickly as the government had expected them to. That includes software vendors, clearinghouses, [and] health plans. Nobody seems to be out front and leading the pack, and that includes the government."

He notes, for example, that there are only eight months until the implementation date and Medicare has not yet released its payment edits. "They've not yet begun to test with providers and even when they do so in March they are only going to do front-end testing. They aren't going to test the claim from start to finish. This is a recipe for disaster if all of these pieces don't come together," he says.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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