Government Delays Fuel Industry Procrastination for ICD-10 Compliance

The delay in the compliance deadline for the implementation of the 10th revision of the International Classification of Diseases coding system (collectively referred to as ICD-10) has negatively affected testing and transition timelines for health care organizations, according to a Workgroup for Electronic Data Exchange (WEDI) survey. According to an iHealthBeat report, when CMS announced a final rule establishing October 1, 2015, as the compliance date for ICD-10, as an extension over the prior compliance date of October 1, 2014, some providers delayed their preparation efforts (see, One year ICD-10 delay is now official, August 4, 2014).

Survey

WEDI has conducted nine surveys, beginning in 2009, to track industry preparedness for the coding transition. The most recent survey evaluated 514 respondents that included: 324 providers, 103 health plans, and 87 vendors.

Findings

The survey found that efforts have been made across the industry since October 2013 to begin preparing for the transition. However, the survey also discovered that many stakeholders have not prepared basic impact assessments, external testing, or the release of ICD-10 compliant documentation and billing products because they have pushed those steps back into 2015. Specifically, the survey found that 50 percent of respondents had completed impact assessments, 40 percent indicated that they were unsure when they would complete them, 35 percent of providers had begun external testing, and 50 percent of providers indicated that they did not anticipate starting external testing until 2015. The survey also demonstrated that smaller providers were less likely to have completed external testing than their larger counterparts.

Warning to HHS

WEDI Chair and ICD-10 Workgroup Co-Chair, Jim Daley, authored a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell expressing the significance of the study’s findings. The letter cautioned that, although the pushed back compliance date gave providers the opportunity to undergo adequate testing and preparation, some providers, particularly smaller ones, “are not taking full advantage” of the extra time. The letter warned HHS that without dedicated efforts taken by procrastinating organizations to move forward with ICD-10 compliance, there is a risk that the industry will see “significant disruption” when ICD-10 compliance becomes mandatory on October 1, 2015.