ICD-10 delay: How providers should respond

While it's clear that the ICD-10 deadline will be pushed back for the second time in nearly two years thanks to the inclusion of a delay in the latest sustainable growth rate patch legislation, what's not so clear is what comes next for both providers and payers.

In a recent post, Mitch Morris, M.D., vice chairman and national healthcare provider lead with Deloitte, says that provider organizations should quickly work to hash out a plan that addresses the new timeline (assuming the deadline is pushed out to Oct. 1, 2015) and how it will impact budgets, collaborative efforts and other organizational initiatives.

Morris also encourages providers to take advantage of the extra time to provide additional training and practice for employees. "Entities that have completed early code adoption have encountered challenges with code selection quality and have experienced initial productivity impacts of up to 70 percent," he writes. "To stay nimble in light of this change, organizations should consider developing a plan to capitalize on the additional time for further training and practice.

Additionally, Morris says, providers should think about repurposing clinical documentation resources.

With regard to health plans, Morris says that efforts should focus on updating ICD-10 remediation strategies. He adds that the delay "presents an opportunity to review corporate funding priorities and determine if new initiatives, such as retail/consumer-focused initiatives," should be put on hold until the transition to ICD-10 is complete.

"With this delay, there could be an opportunity for health plans and providers to support each other," Morris says. "This is something they couldn't do so easily given the previous timeline, which required many organizations to drive full-speed ahead independently toward the transition."

In a blog post of his own, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka, also a FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member, suggests to fellow CIOs on both the payer and provider side that testing and go-lives should continue to minimize revenue cycle risk. He also says that providers and payers could consider lobbying legislators to completely skip ICD-10 in favor of moving toward ICD-11 in 2018, a move suggested by Todd Richardson, vice president and CIO at Wausau, Wisc.-based Aspirus Inc., to FierceHealthIT.

"Although I know that many small practices were not ready for ICD-10, the majority of hospitals and payers were ready for 2014," Halamka writes. "A delay in 2013 may have been helpful, but a delay in 2014 is just going to cost hospitals more as timelines and consulting engagements are extended."

To learn more:
- here's Morris' post
- check out Halamka's post

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