Successful compliance with the new ICD-10 regulations will require a team effort among payers, hospitals and the federal government, health IT experts said during an ICD-10 summit sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association in Washington, D.C.
Last month, the Obama administration announced that it would sustain the Bush administration's Jan. 1, 2012 deadline for using the 5010 standards for electronic transactions and the Oct. 1, 2013 target date for use of the ICD-10 series of clinical codes.
"We can't do this alone," said Harry Reynolds, Jr., vice president and information compliance officer with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, adding that providers need to use the CMS crosswalk between ICD-9 and 10 "as a hub for our journey."
Karen Trudel, deputy director of the CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services, indicated that the agency would be developing and implementing an industrywide communication plan for ICD-10 and 5010 as part of its outreach efforts to providers.
Some physician groups are still unhappy with the CMS' plan to implement the more modern reimbursement diagnostic codes, saying that even with a two-year extension many physicians will take an administrative and financial hit.
"Physicians are saying, there isn't a problem, why fix it?" said Lee Hilborne, medical director for Quest Diagnostics in Southern California and a health services researcher at RAND Corp. The American Medical Association has shown interest in making this change happen, however, which is important since the AMA owns the physician coding system, Hilborne said.
Reynolds and Hilborne both highlighted the positives to transitioning to ICD-10. "It will provide more updated and granular coding of actual care and diagnoses, and it's aligned to today's care and treatment, not yesterday's," Reynolds said.