ICD-10 Delay Hurt Health Care Industry’s Preparedness, WEDI Warns

September 25, 2014 in News

Stakeholders’ ICD-10 testing and transition timelines have been negatively affected by the compliance deadline delay, according to a survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, FierceHealthIT reports (Bowman, FierceHealthIT, 9/25).

Background

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.

In April, President Obama signed into law legislation (HR 4302) that pushed back the ICD-10 compliance date until at least October 2015.

In July, CMS announced a final rule that establishes Oct. 1, 2015, as the new ICD-10 compliance deadline for payers and providers still making the transition (iHealthBeat, 9/8).

Survey Details

Since 2009, WEDI has conducted nine ICD-10 readiness surveys to track stakeholders’ preparedness to transition to the new code set. The latest survey results are based on feedback from 514 respondents, including:

  • 324 providers;
  • 103 health plans; and
  • 87 vendors (WEDI release, 9/25).

Survey Findings

Overall, the survey found that all industry segments have made progress in preparing for the ICD-10 transition since October 2013. However, the survey noted stakeholders are delaying key tasks until 2015, including:

  • Basic impact assessments;
  • External testing; and
  • Releasing ICD-10 compliant documentation and billing products (Bresnick, EHR Intelligence, 9/25).

Among providers, the survey found:

  • About 50% have completed impact assessments, similar to the percentage that had completed such assessments in October 2013 (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 9/25);
  • About 40% said they are unsure when they will complete the assessments or plan to do them in 2015 (EHR Intelligence, 9/25);
  • About 35% of providers have started external testing (Health Data Management, 9/25); and
  • More than 50% do not expect to start external testing until 2015.

The survey showed smaller providers were less likely to have completed impact assessments or have started external testing than larger providers.

In addition, the survey found that:

  • 10% of vendors said they were at most halfway done with ICD-10 product development, while one-third reported being at least 75% finished and 40% are completely finished;
  • Two-thirds of vendors said they already have updated software available, while 25% said such products will not be available until 2015 at the earliest;
  • Almost 75% of health insurers have completed impact assessments; and
  • More than 50% of insurers have already started external testing, while 75% have begun internal testing.

WEDI Details Survey Findings in Letter to Burwell

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, ¬†WEDI Chair and ICD-10 Workgroup Co-Chair Jim Daley wrote, “Based on the survey results, all industry segments appear to have made some progress since October 2013, but the lack of progress by providers, in particular smaller ones, remains a cause for concern as we move toward the compliance deadline.” He added, “Delaying compliance efforts reduces the time available for adequate testing, increasing the chances of unanticipated impacts to production” (EHR Intelligence, 9/25).

In addition, Daley wrote that while delaying the transition allowed for more time, “many organizations are not taking full advantage of this additional time.” He continued, “Unless all industry segments make a dedicated effort to continue to move forward with their implementation efforts, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015″ (Health Data Management, 9/25).

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