pen and stethoscope on paperEarlier in November 2014, a coalition of healthcare groups sent a message to Congress and the Senate, urging leaders to make sure that the implementation of ICD-10 is not delayed again. The argument they made is a very valid one.

Currently, healthcare organizations are working to make the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by October 1, 2015. This is the latest date in which the transition has been delayed.

In July, a final rule was announced that established October 1, 2015 as the new deadline for both payers and healthcare providers still in the midst of making the transition. There are some payers and providers that already completed their transition long ago, but there were many that had not and that is what prompted the latest delay.

Here are the details of the letter sent to Congress and the Senate:

There were 15 organizations that wrote the letter, so some of the groups involved include:

•    America’s Health Insurance Plans
•    The American Health Information Management Association
•    The Healthcare Financial Management Association
•    The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives

The letter stated that the Coalition for ICD-10 strongly supports October 1, 2015 as the compliance deadline and opposes any steps that may delay this current date of implementation.

The coalition stated in their letter that the previous delays have been costly and disruptive to many. It added that it has been estimated that further delays would come at a cost of $1 billion to $6.6 billion more than what has already been lost. The American Health Information Management Association conducted a study that concluded that small practices transitioning to
ICD-10 could see an increase of between $1,960 and $5,900 if ICD-10 is further delayed. This means that practices have absolutely no financial motive to stall the ICD-10 transition process.

The coalition also argued that there are many healthcare providers that have been ready for quite some time. In fact, they were ready for the initial implementation of ICD-10. They cited that three-quarters of health systems and hospitals were confident that they would be able to successfully implement ICD-10 by the initial deadline.

The letter further stated that there are several benefits to adopting ICD-10, such as providing improved population health management, more specific medical coding, and better tracking of disease outbreaks. All of these areas can provide data that will highly improve healthcare within the United States. While we have a great healthcare system, there is always room for improvement so that patients are better taken care of.

For the most part, hospitals are largely prepared for the switch to ICD-10. In fact, they are rather eager to use the new code so they can begin moving along toward quality improvement and performance measurement. According to another study conducted by the American Health Information Management Association, it was found that most healthcare representatives feel that ICD-10 will make managing population health much easier than it is. They also believe that it will bring more ease to conducting translational research and clinical health services. Of the 454 healthcare representatives polled, 70 percent of them said that they plan to conduct more training, but largely reported being on track for the October 1, 2015 deadline.

The bottom line is that it is looking more and more like delaying ICD-10 implementation again is a waste of resources. This explains why healthcare organizations are lobbying to keep the current deadline in place.

If your practice is not ready for the implementation of ICD-10, it is time to get started. If you have started the transition and you need guidance, then there is help there for you. You do not have to implement ICD-10 on your own when there are professionals highly knowledgeable in the transition. All it takes is a review of where you are in the process and you can receive the necessary guidance from there. That streamlines the process for you while your practice or organization continues to focus on patients and other tasks that need attention. This will also help ensure that you and your staff are ready for October 1, 2015 when the transition will be officially made. As it appears, there may be no more delays in the future.

 

If you still have work to be done in your transition to ICD-10, MD Pro Solutions can help you. Our experts are well-versed in the transition and can ensure that you are ready to go on October 1, 2015. To learn more, call us at 508-946-1665 or complete our contact form.