There are conflicting calls from various groups regarding ICD-10 and its implementation and whether practices are geared up to handle the change. Recently, the American Medical Association (AMA) called for a delay and estimated ICD-10 shift costs to range from $83,000 to $2.7 million per practice.
The AMA also added that any delay would add to the costs. According to FierceHealthIT, a July letter sent to House and Senate Members from AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack and BCBS Association Senior Vice President Alissa Fox said, “Given that considerable effort and investment have already been made, our organizations oppose any action that seeks to introduce further delay in ICD-10 implementation.”
Assuming the ICD-10 rollout will proceed as planned, training and testing will remain a priority for practices of all sizes. Indeed, the AHA is called for CMS to expedite its testing plans recently. It wants testing that’s available to all hospitals to begin no later than January.
“Extensive, end-to-end testing by Medicare contractors and state Medicaid agencies of both the electronic transaction and the adjudication of the claim will be needed to ensure a smooth transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Testing is not only essential to ensuring that the transition to ICD-10 goes as smoothly as possible, it is a legal requirement under Section 1104 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA),” writes Linda Fishman, AHS’s senior vice president of public policy analysis and development.
Practices working with medical billing companies should start ICD-10 testing as soon as possible given the fact that a recent study from the Medical Group Management Association found that only 4.8% of the 1,200 medical groups surveyed had made considerable progress in their ICD-10 efforts.
ICD-10 greatly changes practice workflows and would require substantial testing and working knowledge to get it right. Another recent study found that only 50% of the medical coders were able to code correctly as per the new system. Therefore, the earlier this shift is made, the better it will be for everyone involved in the healthcare continuum.
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