Healthcare News & Insights

ICD-10: Most providers have a long way to go to meet transition deadline

Two years may seem like a long time to get ready, but a recent study shows many healthcare providers have already fallen behind in the road to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 codes.

Less than 10% of healthcare providers report being halfway there in terms of getting ready for ICD-10, according to a recent report from research firm KLAS caleld “ICD-10: Preparing for October 2013.” Most organizations surveyed are still in the strategy and planning phase of the transition.

The new ICD-10 coding system goes into effect almost two years from now, officially replacing the 30-year-old ICD-9 codes on October 1, 2013. But providers could be in for a tough road ahead, as organizations studied in the report that have already made the transition say that the move was very complex and expensive, requiring a significant amount of time and resources.

One provider representative interviewed even went so far as to say, “Meaningful use is a cakewalk compared to ICD-10.”

In response to the expected difficulty of the ICD-10 implementation, nearly two-thirds of providers said they’ll use help from third-party firms to plan their strategies, train staff, and complete other necessary steps.

In addition to trouble with their own preparation, 60% of providers also expressed concerns with vendors’ ability to get ready for ICD-10 codes. Organizations must make sure any medical billing services, practice management software, electronic health record systems, and any other products or services they use are also ready to meet the ICD-10 deadline.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommends healthcare providers begin talking with vendors about the ICD-10 transition.

Organizations should identify any part of their processes that currently use ICD-9 codes and contact the applicable vendor. It’s likely that wherever ICD-9 codes are currently used, ICD-10 codes will replace them.

According to the CMS, organizations should ask vendors about points such as:

  1. What upgrades or replacements will be required
  2. What costs will be involved and whether upgrades will be covered by existing contracts
  3. When upgrades or replacement software will be available to test and implement
  4. What training and support will be provided, and
  5. How products and services will be able to accommodate both ICD-10 and ICD-9 codes during the transition period.

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