As the healthcare industry draws closer to the go-live date, ICD-10 remains a polarizing topic among healthcare professionals. While some healthcare organizations are actively preparing for a strategic rollout, others are, more or less, bracing for impact. In April 2012, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS) extended the ICD-10 (the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision) implementation deadline to October 1, 2014 at the request of some physicians, hospitals, and other industry stakeholders. Since then, the American Medical Association (AMA), in partnership with other groups, has urged CMS to eliminate ICD- 10 implementation altogether due to the significant administrative and financial burden it imposes on physicians. There is no sign this will happen, however, or indication of any further postponement. In fact, the acting CMS Administrator, Marilyn Tavenner, has recently stated, “Many in the health industry are under way with the necessary system changes to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. Halting this progress midstream would be costly, burdensome, and would eliminate the impending benefits of these investments.”
Implementing ICD-10 is a Physician Challenge. Focusing on ICD-10’s Benefits is Important.
To be sure, implementing ICD-10 is a major undertaking for all healthcare professionals, who are faced with many other challenges, including meeting the requirements of Meaningful Use legislation. ICD- 10 compels greater specificity in documentation practices; it also involves a new coding classification system and an increase from 17,000 to more than 140,000 codes. It is estimated that ICD-10 implementation costs will range between $83,000 and $2.7 million, depending on the healthcare organization or physician practice size, according to the AMA. The Advisory Board Company calculates that the three-year incremental impact of ICD-10 could range from $2.5 to $7.1 million for a typical 250-bed hospital, with coder productivity decreasing by close to 20% and physician productivity taking a 10% to 20% hit due to significant increases in queries.
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