Despite lagging on ICD-10 efforts, physician practices upbeat

Physician practices are still behind schedule in terms of preparation for ICD-10, yet generally are optimistic about readiness for its implementation on Oct. 1, 2014, according to a recent survey conducted by medical claims clearinghouse Navicure.

Seventy-four percent of survey respondents said they still haven't started implementing their ICD-10 transition plan, but said they still think they'll be ready when it's crunch time. Respondents also didn't seem concerned about the impact ICD-10 implementation would have on their budgets: almost two-thirds of said the anticipated cash flow interruptions, but far fewer anticipated similar impacts to staff productivity. Other key findings from the survey included:

  • 86 percent of respondents said they plan to start preparing for ICD-10 in May of this year, but 27 percent don't know how or when to start preparing, and 22 percent say they don't have time to do so
  • 87 percent said they feel confident they'll  be ready by deadline
  • 43 percent say training is the hardest part of implementation, followed by payers' lack of preparedness (35 percent)

Despite a myriad of physician excuses for delaying the move from ICD-9 to ICD-10, the deadline for implementation now sits a mere nine months away. To that end, medical coding expert Betsy Nicoletti recently wrote that to make the switch could have devastating consequences, including claims processing delays or denials, all of which ultimately means no money. She suggests training coding and billing staff members, removing inactive problems from problem lists in EHRs and getting demonstrations from vendor partners.

A survey published in December by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange determined that the healthcare industry is "far behind" milestones suggested by an ICD-10 timeline developed by WEDI and the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance in September 2012.

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

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