Payer consortium to help small practices switch to ICD-10

Payers have joined together to help smaller providers make the switch to ICD-10, reports ICD-10 Monitor.

Consortium members, including Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Humana, and other payers plan to meet with provider specialty groups, such as cardiology and dermatology, to help them translate the ICD-9 codes they use most into the ICD-10 codes. They can pick up the other codes later, according to the article.

The consortium effort grew out of concerns raised in testimony in Washington, D.C., that payers will not be able to test with a large number of providers, Sid Hebert, director of the ICD-10 implementation team at Humana, told ICD-10 Monitor.

"This approach allows for interested providers to evaluate their coding proficiency with real-world examples, keyed to specialties, through a dynamic interchange with cooperating payers," he said.

The consortium plans a pilot of the strategy with medical specialists in small organizations in Michigan, then to take lessons learned from that before rolling out the program to multiple specialty organizations.

The multiple delays in the implementation deadline, now rolled back to Oct. 1, 2015, have caused healthcare organizations to waste time, money and effort, providers say. James Libecco, a single practitioner at Akron Skin Center in Ohio, told EHR Intelligence that the delays reward those who drag their feet.

A group of 15 organizations--including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the American Health Information Management Association, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and America's Health Insurance Plans--recently send a letter to congressional leaders asking them to ensure there are no more delays.

A majority of large organizations indicated readiness to soon start end-to-end testing, but smaller organizations, mostly clinics or physician practices, reported more difficulties, according to an AHIMA survey.

However, the implementation cost might be lower than previously reported, according to a post in the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association. It put the cost for small practices--three physicians plus two other staff members such as coders--to be between $1,960 and $5,900, compared with the estimate from the American Medical Association of between $22,560 and $105,506.

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