ICD-10 has been delayed once again. Recently, the medical community was certain that the process was going to move forward toward the October deadline and nothing was going to change it. However, the House of Representatives voted on a bill at the end of March that proposed a delay for the implementation of ICD-10 for another year.
The delay is the result of a need to fix Medicare’s physician reimbursement issues. Really, the delay is a footnote in bill designed to make a lot of doctors happy. In other words, the delay pleases a lot of doctors. Some have even gone on to say that ICD-10 is lacking in the area of clinical value.
The ICD-10 Investment
While there are many physicians who are pleased with the delay, the implementation of ICD-10 is something that a lot of physicians and hospitals have gotten ready for over the past year. They have invested a great deal of their time, resources, and energy into planning for the ICD-10 deadline. In many cases, the financial impact is absorbed by larger facilities. For smaller hospitals, the investment involves more than just their cash. Physicians and their information staff have been training for a while, working to make the shift. However, they now have to wait another year before ICD-10 goes into effect after rushing to be compliant.
But as this delay shows, a lot can happen in a year. Many administrators are worried that their clinical staff will lose confidence in the transition, reverting into the mindsets they had in the past. It is also the fear that many will believe that ICD-10 will never happen since the ICD-10 delay has happened again.
The fact is that ICD-10 is going to happen at some point. Hospitals all over the country have invested billions of dollars in staff, technology, and services to assist with the implementation of ICD-10. For many hospitals, particularly non-profits located in rural areas, the well has dried up. This means that there is no more money for them to keep up with ICD-10 changes that could occur in another year. The money isn’t there to handle new technologies that could emerge and the hiring and retention of coders presents a challenge. This shows how many facilities need ICD-10 to happen. They are ready and waiting.
But it is the loss of faith that is hurting some. They see their administrators as people who cry wolf and who make threats about projects and implementations, yet nothing happens. In the world of medical consulting, consultants will tell you to be ready. ICD-10 is the new standard and the United States needs to catch up. Not losing faith in the system means being prepared for when the change occurs and it appears that it is going to happen in 2015.
Time to Create a Game Plan
Considering all of the work that has already gone into the implementation of ICD-10 and the contribution of medical consulting organizations in ensuring that practices and facilities are ready, there may be a loss of momentum. There may even be a loss of motivation that could be fatal when October 2015 rolls around and hospitals have to go live.
The big question, however, is whether or not the training and education that staff has had to go through will remain relevant? Will the project plans still be effective? Because a lot can happen in a year, that makes 12 months a long time to keep an evolving healthcare system from moving too much. There is also no doubt that other areas of clinical and administrative development will fall behind if everyone is trapped on whether or not ICD-10 will move forward.
For others, the delay could mean plenty of time to fine-tune their plans and broaden their training. This can allow staff to practice and continue their ICD-10 education. In other words, the medical community can be more knowledgeable of it before it starts and better embrace any ICD-10 changes in the meantime. This will also give healthcare consulting companies the opportunity to work more with practices in ensuring the smooth implementation of ICD-10 when it is time. So for those wishing to go ahead and get the transition over with, they have to wait a little bit longer. In the meantime, the time can be used to solidify the system so that it creates less shellshock when the time comes.
If you wish to fine-tune operations before ICD-10 implementation or you need to get started, MD Pro Solutions can help you. To learn more, call us at 508-946-1665 or fill out our contact form and someone from our office will contact you.