ICD-10 compliance: Providers still playing catch-up

Four out of five healthcare providers will not complete ICD-10 business changes and begin testing before 2014 hits, according to an ICD-10 readiness survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange.

The results of the survey, which was conducted in October, determined that, as a whole, the healthcare industry is "far behind" milestones suggested by the timeline developed by WEDI and the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA) in September 2012.

"Based on the survey results, it is clear the industry continues to make slow progress, but not the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition," WEDI Chairman Jim Daley said in a letter to Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. "We strongly encourage CMS to assist in promoting future ICD-10 status surveys, as that should lead to increased response rates and more comprehensive views of industry status."

Overall, the survey included 353 responses, including 196 providers, roughly half of which represented health systems or hospitals; less than one-third represented physician practices.

While half of all provider respondents said that they had already completed their ICD-10 impact assessment, one-fourth still said they would not complete their assessment until "sometime in 2014," which, according to WEDI, leaves "little time for remediation."

Similarly, half of all providers surveyed expected to begin external testing in the first half of next year, while one-fourth said they were unsure about when such testing would occur. "This indicates that most providers are planning for nine months or less for external testing," the synopsis said.

In a letter sent to U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week, the Medical Group Management Association urged HHS to conduct full end-to-end testing of ICD-10 to prevent cash-flow problems for physician practices. The American Hospital Association also is urging end-to-end testing--and that it begin in January.

The National Pilot Program of ICD-10 coding conducted by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and WEDI earlier this year achieved an average accuracy rate of just 63 percent, finding plenty of room for improvement.

In August, WEDI issued guidance to help providers better understand where to focus transaction testing to ensure that ICD-10 codes are correctly placed and formatted within the transactions.

To learn more:
- read the WEDI survey summary (.pdf)

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