Practice Economics

Most docs still not ready for ICD-10 switch



A majority of physician practices will not be ready when the ICD-10 compliance date rolls around on Oct. 1, according to a recent survey by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI).

Less than half of physician practices reported that they were ready, or would be ready to implement ICD-10 by the compliance date. Nearly one-quarter of practices indicated they would not be ready, with the balance identifying their readiness status as “unknown.”

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The WEDI survey was conducted in June, prior to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ announcing a 1-year transition period during which Medicare will not deny claims based solely on the specificity of diagnosis codes, provided they are in the appropriate family of ICD-10 codes.

Physician practices “may now be working more quickly toward compliance, since the potential for further delay has been removed,” WEDI wrote in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

WEDI, formed in 1991 by the HHS and named as an advisory organization to the agency under HIPAA, warned that if physician practices in particular “do not make a dedicated and aggressive effort to complete their implementation activities in the time remaining, there is likely to be disruption to industry claims processing on Oct. 1, 2015.”

Physician practices may have a lot of catching up to do in a short amount of time because of inaction taken with each delayed implementation date. Many organizations “did not take full advantage of this additional time and as indicated in prior surveys, many organizations stopped or slowed down efforts when a delay was announced,” WEDI noted.

In a separate letter, WEDI called for more transparency regarding the readiness of state Medicaid agencies to convert to ICD-10, and urged the HHS to appoint an ombudsman for ICD-10 as soon as possible.

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