ICD-10 testing slow for providers, payers, survey finds

Both payers and providers are significantly behind on several aspects of ICD-10 implementation, including system testing and cash-flow determination, according to the results of a recently conducted poll by New York-based advisory firm KPMG.

Overall, 74 percent of respondents said they either had not, or had no plans to conduct end-to-end testing involving external entities, according to an announcement. What's more, half of all respondents said they had not yet estimated the cash-flow impact of the coding switch.

"A Oct. 1 inches closer, healthcare organizations have their work cut out to properly absorb the impact that the new coding will have on their businesses," Wayne Cafran, an advisory principal with KPMG, said in a statement. "With estimates by those who did measure the impact tallying anywhere from $1 million to more than $15 million, healthcare organizations are in for a rude awakening when they finally realize what [impact] the new standards will have on their bottom lines."

More than 70 percent of respondents said they had allocated budget toward such readiness efforts.

"The recent roll out of the Affordable Care Act from a technical aspect should give health plans and providers all the motivation they need in determining just how important it is to put the new system through its paces," Cafran added.

Both the Medical Group Management Association and the American Hospital Association have pushed for the federal government to help providers with full end-to-end testing of ICD-10. Government officials repeatedly have said that they will not conduct such testing, although after a stakeholder collaboration meeting in early November, MGMA Senior Policy Advisor Robert Tennant said CMS was "at least willing to revisit the issue."

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. "Based on the survey results, it is clear the industry continues to make slow progress, but not the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition," WEDI Chairman Jim Daley said in a letter to Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS.

On a webinar hosted by FierceHealthIT last month, Stephen Stewart, CIO at Henry County Health Center in Mount Pleasant Iowa, and Colleen Deighan, the senior program director for ICD-10 implementation at Cleveland Clinic, discussed how their respective organizations are staying ahead of the curve when it comes to ICD-10.

"The interesting thing is, the dynamics and the scope of what we're dealing with here is the same whether you're small or very, very large," Stewart said.

To learn more:
- here's the KPMG announcement