AHA: Hospitals Will be Ready for ICD-10 in October 2014

The below article, published in Advance for Health Information Professionals, uses conflicting statistics from several groups and associations. Where does your organization stand? Will you be ready for ICD-10?

We’d love to hear your comments!

From Advance for Health Information Professionals

The American Hospital Association (AHA) is optimistic that its members will be ready for the October 1, 2014 ICD-10 implementation date after a survey of nearly 800 hospitals showed more than 90% of facilities are very confident of meeting the deadline.  Both large and small hospitals, including critical access hospitals (CAHs) reported that they are actively working with their physicians on ICD-10 preparations, and addressing the various challenges of the change to prepare for the mandated switch.

The positivity of the report, which shows that only 68% of hospitals are concerned about their project budget, contrasts with other recent surveys of industry preparedness, and certainly represents a sharp departure from the feelings of independent physicians. A recent Navicure poll reported that 22% of practice-based physicians don’t even know where to start their ICD-10 prep, and MGMA found that coordination within the industry, which must come together to conduct external testing and provide ICD-10 compliant software to providers, is lagging severely. While the AHA survey shows that 79% of hospitals are worried about managing and retaining their coding staff, Health Revenue Assurance Associates (HRAA) revealed that few hospitals are planning to let their staff practice with the new code set by conducting dual coding exercises. Seventy-two percent of hospitals in that survey had no intention of submitting any ICD-10 claims to any of their payers for testing, and 21% won’t bother with dual coding before the implementation date.  And yet, 93% of hospitals in the AHA poll are concerned about timely testing with commercial health plans.

With all this conflicting data, it is difficult to tell if hospitals will truly be ready for ICD-10, or if the AHA is being overly sanguine about the complex and much-contested transition. Hospitals did note that competing priorities, such as meeting meaningful use requirements, other quality reporting initiatives, and growing their patient base, posed challenges to their ICD-10 plans, and the poll results didn’t include information on documentation improvement initiatives and ICD-10 technology implementations.

Hopefully the AHA poll is an accurate representation of hospital preparedness for ICD-10, and hopefully EHR vendors and payers will step up to the plate in time to install new software while leaving ample opportunity for testing and education.  After several warnings from CMS and the ONC that October 2014 will be the date, the industry seems to be resigning itself to the fact that ICD-10 is coming, and is picking up speed as we hurtle towards the deadline.

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