ICD-10 survey indicates 'surprising' level provider readiness

Providers responding to a recent survey on ICD-10 expressed concerns about the impact the coding switch--set to go into effect Oct. 1, 2015, after being delayed in April--will have on revenue, productivity and workflow.

Of 349 providers surveyed between May and June by the American Health Information Management Association and the eHealth Initiative, 38 percent said they think revenue will decrease in the year immediately following the transition; only 6 percent said they think revenue will increase.

Forty percent of respondents, however, said they would be ready to go through with end-to-end testing by the end of this year; 25 percent indicated they would be ready by the end of 2015.

The survey results were made public during a webinar on Thursday.

"I think that what's surprising to everyone is that more people were ready than people actually thought," Denesecia Green, a senior health insurance specialist with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said during the webinar. "One of the things we've been talking to groups about doing is how do we ... begin to share some of those best practices and stories of how are they moving forward? ... This survey is very helpful in the sense that it really does validate a lot of the effort and work that has transpired thus far."

Green added that CMS plans to release a "national timeline" to help all ICD-10 stakeholders--from providers to payers to vendors--prepare for the transition. The timeline will consist of particular timeframes in which each stakeholder will need to be ready to test.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said they think that, in the short term, coding patient encounters will be a more difficult task; 44 percent said the same for documenting such encounters. For the long term, however, 41 percent said they think transitioning to ICD-10 will improve claims accuracy, compared to 22 percent who said it will worsen.

Still, providers remain skeptical about ICD-10's impact on reimbursement. Twenty percent believe switching over from ICD-9 will improve reimbursement efficiency, while 33 percent think efficiency will suffer.

Research recently published in the journal Pediatrics determined that the switch to ICD-10 could have a substantial impact on pediatricians' financial bottom lines.

A letter sent to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange presented an ICD-10 transition roadmap to the agency, urging it to ensure Medicare and Medicaid readiness transparency; expedite, support and expand industry testing; expand provider education; and conduct limited pilots.

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