Health groups urge Congress to keep next year's ICD-10 deadline
- A group of healthcare organizations has sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to make sure there are no further delays to ICD-10 implementation.
- The letter came from a group of 15 health-related organizations, including the American Health Information Management Association, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. The letter noted that HHS itself is predicting that further delays could cost the industry as much as $6.6 billion.
- As things stand, providers and payers must complete the ICD-9 to ICD-10 transition by October 1, 2015, moving the cutoff back by one year. While the decision pleased some healthcare organizations, others—notably hospitals—said they had been prepared for the earlier deadline and wished it had stayed in place.
The ICD-9 to ICD-10 switchover certainly isn't a small project. After all, it involves moving from 14,000 codes to about 69,000 codes. But it's increasingly seeming like the project isn't as difficult or as costly as providers feared. While a study cited by the AMA suggested that the transition would cost small practices from $56,639 to $226,105, that figure seems to have been vastly overblown. In fact, a new study appearing this month in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association concludes that small-practice ICD-10 transition costs are more likely to be between $1,960 and $5,900. So they have no financial motive to stall the process.
Hospitals, meanwhile, are largely prepared for the switch and moreover, are eager to use the new code set for quality improvement and performance measurement once it's implemented, according to another Journal of AHIMA study. The study, which surveyed 454 healthcare representatives, found that most feel ICD-10 will make managing population health easier, as well as conducting clinical health services and translational research. While 70% of respondents said they plan to do more training, they largely reported being on track for the deadline.
Bottom line, it appears that putting ICD-10 implementation off any longer just wastes resources. So it's no wonder that health organizations are lobbying to keep the deadline firmly in place.