D'Arcy Gue

The Questionable Status of Hospitals’ ICD-10 Implementation Progress

April 9, 2013

ICD-10 2 Minute Read

The ICD-10 implementation deadline of October 1, 2014 is looming ever closer, and we are seeing that small to mid-size hospitals (25-400 beds) are either:

  • blowing the dust off any work done on ICD -10 before the delay from a 2013 deadline to 2014,
  • or just starting conversations around ICD-10 and their organization,
  • or nothing.

Few organizations in this size range are knee deep in implementation.  The big guys are (e.g. Kaiser Permanente, et al ) — or are close to completing their implementation.

Two prestigious, authoritative policy-oriented organizations — AHIMA and WEDI — embarked on separate ICD-10 implementation surveys in January, but to date no results have been published. Hopefully, we will see them soon….

In the meantime, I checked out the new 2013 HIMSS Leadership Survey, which asked a couple of ICD-10 related questions of the mostly CIO and IT Director respondents. The survey reported on 298 respondents.

The survey asked how “optimistic” respondents were that their organizations would achieve ICD-10 compliance by October 1, 2014. A whopping 87% of respondents said yes, they are optimistic!

However, under half of respondents (47 percent) indicated this to be their top financial IT focus; this is a decrease from the two-thirds of respondents who reported ICD-10 as their priority in 2012.

Notable also, is that 1/3 of the respondents did not know what level of investment had been made in the ICD-10 conversion. Strange…considering their optimism.

As a longtime researcher and survey analyst,  I would have been okay with the subjective questions about optimism and priority —  but only if questions of fact had followed. Unfortunately,  the survey did not ask what progress has actually been made.

Going out on a limb here…I would suggest that many, if not most  hospitals, if asked,  are “optimistic” that they will convert to ICD-10 on time. October of 2014 seems like a very long time from today.

But, our experience is that relatively few small to mid-size hospitals are actively engaged in an ICD-10 conversion project. Many have yet to do more than set up a steering committee — spearheaded by HIM leaders a couple of years ago when we thought we were facing an October 2013 deadline.

Moreover, we are seeing that CFOs and CEOs are seeing ICD-10 simply as an IT systems or HIM problem — not as an enterprise-wide transition project that will affect tens of systems and  hundreds of processes and people in your organization. This project, according to most industry experts,  will take at least 12 to 18  months to complete.

If your organization has not implemented ICD-10 by October 1, 2014, its claims will not be paid, either by Medicare or private insurers.  If your implementation is not orchestrated properly, your organization risks extreme financial damage in the form of delayed payments, errors, duplicate claims and more.
The ICD-10 clock is ticking loudly – and if you haven’t started yet, plan to watch for my next post….

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