In response to "Commentary: The time for ICD-10 adoption is now":
I read with great interest the commentary by my friend and colleague Linda Kloss, chief executive officer of the American Health Information Management Association. We share many of the same viewpoints on this complex issuethe belief that, once fully implemented, ICD-10-CM should result in improved granularity in public-health reportingbut also that the move to ICD-10-CM will be costly and burdensome.
These new code sets will intersect with virtually every facet of the healthcare billing process and will require an unprecedented effort from clinicians, practice administrators, software vendors, payers and others to make the transition successful. This is why we, and many others, have asked for a more thoughtful and deliberative approach to implementation.
A recent study showed that a 10-physician practice should expect to spend more than $285,000 to implement ICD-10-CM. This figure does not include the costs practices will incur moving to the 5010 version of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act electronic transactions, a highly complex effort itself, required before ICD-10-CM adoption can occur. With no financial assistance from the government and, shockingly, no comprehensive pilots for guidance, physician practices will be left on their own to navigate the challenging waters of ICD-10-CM implementation.
Can this be accomplished by the governments proposed Oct. 1, 2011, deadline? To answer that question, one only needs to look back to the protracted and extremely expensive implementation of the national provider identifier and of the first set of HIPAA electronic transaction standards. Those efforts required more than four and five years, respectively, to accomplish.
Rushing forward with ICD-10-CM without careful planning and sufficient time will lead the industry down a path of confusion, needless cost and cause potentially catastrophic disruption of the healthcare billing and payment system.
William Jessee, M.D.PresidentChief executive officerMedical Group Management AssociationEnglewood, Colo.To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown.
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