ICD-10 switch could cost hospitals up to $20M

Transitioning over to ICD-10 could cost large hospitals between $2-5 million and up to $20 million for large systems, according to James Swanson, director of client services at Virtusa, an IT services and consulting company, in a ComputerWorld article.

Regulated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), healthcare providers and insurance payers are required to change from the ICD-9 to ICD-10 coding system by Oct. 1, 2013. ICD-10, aimed at tracking diagnoses and treatments, affects 15,000 existing codes and adds 68,000 new ones.

Even though the deadline is two years away, massive implementation has been reportedly slow and cumbersome for hospitals and health systems. ICD-10 affects institution-wide systems, including electronic health records, billing, reporting, and decision-making.

Smaller hospitals, in particular, are at risk for not meeting the deadline, according to Jim Whicker, principal technology consultant for health IT strategy and policy at Kaiser Permanente's information technology division, notes ComputerWorld. Whicker urged CMS to provide more guidance on implementation of ICD-10.

For more:
- read the ComputerWorld article
- check out the World Health Organization's ICD-10 information

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