Medical billers worried about ICD-10, HITECH Act

Want to know what's on medical billers' minds? Largely, they're in a stir over the implementation of ICD-10 5010 and compliance with the new HITECH Act, according to speakers at a national conference for the industry.

Panel members speaking at a session of the National Conference of the Healthcare Billing and Management Association note that while CMS has vowed that it won't relax its ICD-10 deadline, it still may be virtually impossible for the industry to prepare adequately.

In fact, even the commercial payers aren't going to convert completely by the deadline, noted Holly Louie, compliance officer at Practice Management, Inc. "They plan to use crosswalks, mapping and internal translation tables for an indefinite period of time," Louie told Healthcare Finance News. That could be a nightmare for billers, however, as it could make claims processing more complicated, she notes.

Meanwhile, billing companies are struggling with meeting the security requirements imposed by the HITECH Act, she said. Smaller companies are having a hard time finding encryption programs to protect their electronic data, and smaller, rural companies may be at a loss as to how they'll protect their paper documents. What's more, there's the issue of training employees adequately to address security issues. All told, dealing with HITECH will be a huge challenge, she suggests.

To learn more about HITECH and ICD-10 implementation:
- read this Healthcare Finance News piece

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