Medical Practices Anxious About the Impact of ICD-10 Transition

While the recent one year extension (from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014) in deadline by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) may somewhat have eased the pressure, yet the anxiety still persists among the majority of medical practices in the US. The “anxiety” is about the impact of ICD-10 transition on their practices’ clinical, operational, and financial efficiency.  Nearly 90% of the total practitioners harbor this fear.

Then, is it really true? Or is it simply unfounded reason?
Well… the answer is both a “yes” and a “no”! True because ICD-10 is something monumental and is happening for the first time in the US while the rest of the world started adopting decades earlier. Simply look at the increase in diagnosis and procedural codes –17,000 in ICD-9 to some 155,000! Isn’t it simply overwhelming? More than the volume, it is the specificity of coding that puts physicians at great difficulty. The direct impact of this specific and detailed coding is that the entire practice management processes – clinical documentation, billing, workflow and quality reporting – will assume higher order.

Clinical documentation should comply by HIPAA 5010 mandate, meaning physicians will have to do away with the erstwhile 4010. Billing will become more streamlined and technology-driven. Physician offices will now have to be thorough with electronic billing, and be able to generate them flawlessly. Coding will no longer be as easy, and outsourcing coding professionals may just become the order of the day. Claim processing, realization, denial management, adjudication, and A/Rs may tend to be even more distant and complex to manage.

This multitude of challenges may necessitate process and systems upgrading. Additionally, people managing these processes and systems may have to be trained extensively. Therefore, judging from this angle, physicians are justified in their preliminary apprehension.

Conversely, ICD-10 is not intended to put physicians at disadvantage. The very aim of HHS’ ICD-10 is to bring out efficiency across the nation’s macro health care delivery. The benefits of such macro-level efficiency will slowly start to translate into tangible benefits to the physician community. While business is going to be affected initially, it is going to be a temporary phenomenon. Therefore, judging from this angle, physicians may be reacting a bit more injudiciously or reflecting herd’s view.

Irrespective of the standing, the transition is inevitable, and it may be too late for comfort once the deadline ceases. And when it comes to entrusting your transitional phase to medical billing service vendors, who better to intervene than, themselves. Believed to be a leading source for ICD-10 transformation, we are engaged by physician practices of varying operational sizes. On board our mission ICD-10 provides ongoing updates & training for the upcoming ICD-10 along with an expert team of billing and coding professionals with deep insight into ICD-10 realm. Their professional expertise when combined with our strategic understanding with technology and knowledge vendors makes a convincing statement.