Yet those in the thick of preparing for the conversion to the new coding system also feared that the continual pushback of the switchover date could lessen the urgency for testing and training.
“All I hear is this is never going to happen,” said Susan Trewhella, associate vice president for revenue management at Geisinger Health System, who spoke on a panel at the HFMA's annual National Institute.
In the HFMA survey, physician readiness was ranked as the top challenge to preparing for ICD-10, followed by payer readiness.
The one-year delay to October 2015 will allow Seton Healthcare Family to test the rollout with more payers and continue training its physicians, said Glenda Owen, vice president, finance revenue, who agreed that she was concerned about how prepared those groups were.
However, since testing is so expensive, some payers are pulling back on those efforts, said Betsy Brentz, vice president of operations at Nebo Systems, a clearinghouse. “We've been very disappointed that a lot of payers in the industry have stopped testing with us,” she said on the panel. “We've been very happy when there's a payer that will continue to test.”
The CMS has continued to meet weekly with stakeholders in the transition and is offering free training programs for organizations that can't afford to do it on their own, said Denesecia Green, CMS' senior health insurance specialist.
“What we found was that many of the really small providers were the groups that needed the additional help,” she said. “We wanted to take a look at why aren't these groups progressing?”
A report this year from credit rating agency Fitch Ratings found that small, resource-strapped hospitals have the most to lose if the rollout doesn't go smoothly because they'll have less of a cushion to weather payment delays that may result.
The conversion to ICD-10 will increase the number of diagnosis and procedure codes by a factor of eight but will provide more data for studying cost and quality.
Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @MHbkutscher