Hold ICD-10 vendors accountable for their services, WEDI summit attendees say

Provider representatives attending the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange's ICD-10 Summit in Reston, Virginia, on Wednesday discussed the need for more vendor engagement and accountability within the ICD-10 transition process.

In particular, one of the ideas spitballed by the group, which shared initial and informal thoughts for building an industry roadmap for ICD-10 implementation, was a call for vendors to provide tools for the transition to be certified.

Robert Tennant (pictured), a senior policy advisor for government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association, called the industry's need to turn to vendors for ICD-10 efforts one of the biggest "elephants in the room" for the transition.

"We rely on vendors," Tennant said. "One of the things that we can add to our roadmap is complete industry support, including support from CMS, for … a practice management system accreditation program. There's got to be some way to put market pressure on these small vendors to move ahead with an ICD-10 solution."

Kathryn Eiler, who represented the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management, echoed Tennant's sentiments, saying that small group practices operating with limited budgets don't have much wiggle room in the event they pick an underperforming vendor partner.

"Vendors have to be held accountable," Eiler said. "What do [small practices] do when we're ready [for the ICD-10 transition], but our vendors are not ready? What do you want us to do about that? Who's addressing that?"

Gale Scott, a transaction compliance administrator at Tampa General Hospital in Tampa, Florida, said that while her organization was "fortunate enough" to have an electronic health record system with built-in ICD-10 capabilities, certification for other ICD-10 tools would be a good idea.

Said Scott: "I know that there are systems out there that don't" guarantee readiness. "I like the idea of … having vendors certifying that they are ICD-10-ready."

She added that ICD-10 tools for physician practices, could be "specialty specific," or could have built-in "decision trees" to ease the transition.

"I really like that idea," Scott said.

ICD-10 was delayed for the second time in nearly two years early last month when President Obama signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act into law. The legislation mandated that ICD-10 could not be adopted prior to Oct. 1, 2015, and also implemented a 12-month patch to the sustainable growth rate payment formula that prevented deep Medicare payment cuts for physicians.

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