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ICD-10: So far yet so close

By: Nextech | February 25th, 2015

ICD-10: So far yet so close Blog Feature
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As ICD-10 implementation gets closer, many healthcare providers have found themselves struggling to understand the deadline. This is due largely to the fact that the set date has been pushed back several times in an effort to allow all affected parties to prepare accordingly. With that in mind, it's important to recognize that ICD-10, though seemingly far away, is a great deal closer than you think. With the ICD-10 transition date now set for Oct. 1, 2015, take a look at some key information concerning the shift:

Many still backing delays
Although the official implementation deadline has been pushed back several times, many individuals feel another delay is necessary. According to a recent poll conducted by Healthcare Finance, more than 31 percent of healthcare providers surveyed said they would support another congressional holdup. While this does mean that the vast majority of survey respondents are fine with the current deadline (and a small percentage issued no opinion on the matter), another delay would offer more time for training new coders and learning the ins and outs of new EHR systems.

Medical coders may require further education to get up to speed with ICD-10Medical coders may require further education to get up to speed with ICD-10

Cost as a factor
One of the core concerns driving the conversation about the ICD-10 deadline has been the cost that will be absorbed by individual practices and providers. Ensuring that medical coders are up to speed, billing processes are properly adapted and integration is seamless all comes with baseline expenses for practices. There appears to be some good news on this front, though, as Dell Healthcare recently tweeted an article from Fierce Health IT that estimated costs of ICD-10 implementation are now expected to be lower than what was predicted by the American Medical Association last year.

Specifically, it now appears that the cost will vary depending on the number of providers in a given setting. For example, a practice with only one provider can expect costs just over $4,300, while practices with six providers should anticipate spending roughly $10,800.

"Practices with six providers should anticipate spending roughly $10,800."

What should you be doing?
There is no single, cookie cutter method for ensuring that your practice is adequately prepared for the transition to this new coding language. With that said, there are several key areas of focus that can aid you in making the change seamlessly. First and foremost, you'll want to speak with your EHR provider regarding any concerns you have about your records system's compatibility with ICD-10. Another priority should be establishing clear communication with your medical billing and coding staff regarding ability to handle the transition. You'll want to determine whether they require further training prior to Oct. 1. Lastly, it's important to be certain that your practice has enough residual income set aside to weather any revenue stream interruptions that might arise as a result of the transition.