Okay, people. It's happening (maybe for real this time). By "it," we mean ICD-10: CMS announced Thursday that the ICD-10 transition will happen for sure on October 1, 2015. The administration had said on April 1 that the new coding system would be adopted no sooner than October 1, 2015; we now know that this is the official date. HHS expects to release an interim rule in the near future including the new compliance date and requiring the use of the updated coding system beginning on that date. HIPAA-covered entities will be required to continue using ICD-9CM through September 30, 2015.
The announcement ends months of uncertainty for providers as to when the changeover would officially occur. Different providers continue to be at different stages in their preparation, but at least there is a definitive deadline associated with the process now. Still, even with ample preparation time, some low-margin practices will face losses, according to a recent study in the journal Pediatrics. In a test matching 2,708 Medicaid ICD-9 codes to their ICD-10 counterparts, researchers found that 26% of translations were garbled, creating an 8% risk of financial and clinical data loss. This could have a significant financial impact on providers operating on a narrow financial margin.
(If you need to lighten the mood after that, check out the 16 most absurd ICD-10 codes.)
In other news, CMS also announced that despite Sovaldi, average Medicare Part D plan premiums in 2015 will only increase by about $1/month. A recent study by Milliman concluded that things could be much more dire, suggesting that the drug could be responsible for an increase of between $2.9 and $5.8 billion in Medicare Part D spending. Check out our infographic 6 things you need to know about Sovaldi.
Here are the biggest stories in the healthcare industry this week:
Siemens Healthcare isn't responding to the rumors, but it did drop a few hints in its Q2 report.
Salaries and benefits are the biggest part of any health system's costs. Will targeting this component make enough of a budget difference for Mercy—and how many doctors is it losing in the process?
Both institutions are expanding their networks. Affiliated hospitals enjoy national branding and other benefits, but will they remain independent?
The hospital system was participating in a $218-million HHS initiative that embraces 3,700 hospitals.
The new 100-bed hospital isn't affiliated with a health system in any way—and its entrepreneurial, specialist-driven model is setting it apart in an incredibly competitive market.
And here's what we were reading:
- The "doc-shortage crisis" may be nothing but misplaced hysteria. The very good Adrianna McIntyre covers a new Institute of Medicine report in Vox.
- The "Docs v. Glocks" law debate continued this week, with a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that a Florida law prohibiting physicians from asking patients about gun ownership is valid. Jen Gunter had a few things to say about it in the New Republic; so did Aaron Carroll in the New York Times.
- CMS has apparently learned its lesson after the healthcare.gov roll-out fiasco. Modern Healthcare reports (subscription required).