With the October 2014 deadline for physicians to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 approaching, less than 10% of private practices are ready. In asurvey of medical professionals, Porter Research found that even though 87% of respondents said they are confident they will be ready when the time comes, 74% had not started the implementation process in the final quarter of 2013. Kind of makes you shake in your boots, no?
A significant majority of respondents expressed concerns about loss of revenue associated with the ICD-10 conversion. In fact, the report cited cash flow disruption and revenue loss as the biggest concern for private practice physicians and other medical professionals surveyed.
MGMA president and CEO, Susan L. Turney, expressed concern recently with the lack of progress toward implementation, and challenged CMS to do its part to get the industry moving toward measurable progress immediately.
The Porter Research survey and Turney’s analysis of the current ICD-10 transition highlight multiple areas of interest for private practice physicians and small groups.
- Training will be costly, labor-intensive, and ongoing. With 5 times the number of codes used with ICD-10 than ICD-9, almost 100% (98%) of clinicians expect challenges choosing the proper code for reimbursement and EHR management.
- End-to-end testing is imperative for quality and continuity of care; however at least half have not heard from their clearing house about scheduling testing dates. Less than 6% have initiated testing with major health plans.
- The complexities with ICD-10 are extensive and broad. Coordination among clearing houses, software providers, physicians, health plans and ancillary services is critical to reduce disruptions in patient services. Roughly 40% of respondents in the survey expect loss of productivity to be an issue for their practice.
- Although many medical enterprises say they budgeted, or are budgeting, for costs associated with the implementation, approximately 25% say their practice does not have adequate staff or other resources available. Turney estimates the cost to a 10 physician practice will exceed $243,000 for software upgrades associated with ICD-10 transition, if their vendor is not obligated to cover the costs. Less than 45% say they expect their current vendor to cover upgrade costs.
While, the survey report presents a number of negative findings, there are some positive reports. For example, although the survey reports limited contact from software vendors, many physicians do not expect to change companies. And just under 10% of participants expressed concern that they could not get preparations completed in time for the roll-out.
Some 35% of survey participants said preparedness is lacking among payers; however, emerging collaborative effects between eHealth partners and vendors should reduce financial burdens and time requirements for physicians. The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative and the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium announced efforts to assist medical providers and payerstest ICD-10 efficiency.
Organizations such as the American Hospital Association and the Workgroup for Electronic Data Exchange continue to urge government official to take a proactive approach toward Medicare testing to make sure all parties are ready when October comes.
October and the ICD-10 roll-out are coming. Preparations now will mean a smoother transition period and confidence when October 1st arrives.
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