‘Final’ ICD-10 date to heat things up

August 27, 2014 in Medical Technology

Even before the Department of Health and Human Services posted the final rule declaring Oct. 1, 2015 as the compliance deadline, industry analysts were convinced that it would be a hard-fast date.

“Yes,” is what CTG Health Solutions consultant Cecil Bohannon said when asked if this would be the true launch date after several delays.

“The issue is more about the delays than the codes,” said Bohannon, healthcare IT and operations consultant for Buffalo, N.Y.-based CTG. “Most of the big and mid-sized providers are ready and the impact on the smaller providers won’t be as negative as they think. The delay muddied the waters.”

Coming from the payer environment at Blue Cross of North Carolina, Bohannon provided comments on the original ICD-10 proposal nine years ago. 

“It seemed like a good idea at the time – there was hope from the payer side that it would result in better data that was actionable and would result in operational efficiencies from a medical record perspective.” he said.

Payers were also hopeful that ICD-10 would generate information that would be put into a list of coverages so it could be published and “providers could see with a better degree of transparency what was covered and what was not,” he added.

When the ICD-10 rule came out four years ago, Bohannon says payers were excited about a new healthcare climate and new approaches for relationships with providers. What he didn’t expect was a lack of enthusiasm from providers.

“It was amazing to me how little had changed in the provider environment compared to what was happening with payers,” he said.

Bringing in docs

While hospitals and health systems worked feverishly to make the October 2014 deadline, many physician clinics did not feel the same sense of urgency, says Tom Giannulli, MD, chief medical information officer for Irvine, Calif.-based Kareo. The extra year, he says, only solidifies the sense that there is still plenty of time to get ready.

“ICD-10 is still in the back recesses of physicians’ minds right now,” Giannulli said. “No one is making bold moves now, but it should heat up next year and will become a key topic of conversation next year.”

Physician reticence most likely has several driving factors behind it, but Giannulli pointed to a Medical Group Management Association study that showed 90 percent of physician practices were “uncomfortable and concerned” about ICD-10 clinical productivity coding. Some practices have forged ahead with ICD-10 adoption and as a result will be “ahead of the curve” by the deadline next year and that those who did nothing “probably fared better, but they will have to do it eventually.”

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/final-icd-10-date-heat-things

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