Healthcare Business News

Survey finds industry lagging on move to ICD-10

By Joseph Conn
Posted: April 12, 2013 - 8:00 am ET

Even with a year's grace period, many providers, payers and health information technology vendors are still running behind schedule in their preparations for the massive conversion next year to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes, according to an industry survey.

“The industry is not where we hoped to be by the timeline,” said Jim Daley, who is chairman of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange and co-chair of the ICD-10 group of WEDI, which conducted the survey, and is director of IT risk and Compliance for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina. “There is a lot of work to do.”

Over the years, WEDI has developed multiple timelines to guide affected parties in their ICD-10 preparations. It scrapped its first ICD-10 timeline in 2011 when the industry lapsed so far behind that the guide was rendered meaningless.

Vendors still have their hands full with ICD-10 updates, based on a WEDI summary of the new survey results contained in a letter sent Thursday to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.

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Jim Daley, WEDI
“The change in compliance dates resulted in a shift in project timelines across all entity types,” the letter said. “Based on survey results, it is clear the industry is not making the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition.”

About half of vendors participating indicated their companies are halfway or less than halfway complete with their ICD-10 product development, a status that is little changed from that in the February 2012 survey. Roughly two-thirds of vendors indicated they would start beta testing their systems with customers by the end of this year.

Almost half of health plan participants surveyed indicated their plans have completed their impact assessments and gap analyses and another quarter are nearly finished. Further, nearly half of health plan respondents indicated their organizations expect to begin external testing of their systems' ICD-10 capabilities with their provider customers. According WEDI, those percentages indicate plans have made “moderate progress” since 2012.

Meanwhile, more than 40% of provider respondents indicated they did not know when they would complete their impact assessments, business changes and begin external testing. “This is essentially the same as in the 2012 survey, and indicates that many providers have not made significant progress” since then, according to the WEDI letter to Tavenner, which was signed by Daley.

A WEDI survey completed in early 2012 revealed such limited industry ICD-10 prepation that a few weeks later the CMS announced it would push back its ICD-10 compliance deadline one year. Last fall, WEDI, working with the North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance, came up with a revised timeline, tracking toward the CMS' extended Oct. 1, 2014, start date (PDF).

That's where the deadline remains today, despite pressure from the American Medical Association and others for further delay.

The latest WEDI survey, conducted in March, attracted 974 respondents—778 from provider organizations, 109 from health plans and 87 from vendors. WEDI plans to conduct additional ICD-10 surveys later this year and in 2014, the statement said.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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