Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: ICD-10 delay won’t help providers get ready

Many providers were probably happy to hear that the feds are planning to reevaluate the October 2013 deadline to transition to the new ICD-10 code set. However, a recent survey says pushing the date back may not make things any easier. 

On February 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it was planning to “re-examine” the planned ICD-10 deadline. The Department of Health and Human Services followed with a similar announcement shortly after.

That sounded like good news, as many providers are struggling to get ready for the transition. However, many organizations believe a delay will cause them to pause their ICD-10 transitions, making it more difficult to meet a new deadline, according to a recent survey conducted by health IT provider Edifecs.

For the survey, 50 senior healthcare pros were polled at an ICD-10 summit held by Edifecs two days after HHS’s announcement. Among those surveyed:

  1. 64% said a delay would not help providers get ready for the deadline — rather, they’ll simply stop their transitions to focus on other initiatives and then scramble to get ready once the new deadline approaches.
  2. 85% said they’d prefer the deadline to be pushed back by less than one year — if it’s longer, they said, work will stop and it will be difficult to get back on track.
  3. 69% said a delay of two years or more would be “potentially catastrophic” or cause an unrecoverable failure, as ICD-10 budgets would be frozen and resources would be redirected elsewhere.

These findings suggest organizations may be better off continuing their ICD-10 transitions as planned, regardless of how the deadline is changed.

That’s likely the best course of action now, anyway, as it’s still unclear what the change will be made and whether it will apply to all providers or just certain organizations.

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently sent a letter to the DHS urging the department to move quickly in setting new dates for the ICD-10 transition, so that organizations can begin planning accordingly. According to CHIME, prolonged uncertainty will cause serious problems for providers.

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