How Those Who Are Ready Deal with the ICD-10 Delay

The healthcare industry needs those who are ready for ICD-10 to step up and speak out, according to the panelists in a late-breaking session at the HFMA's national meeting.

What the healthcare industry needs, is for all the hospitals, providers, payers, and other organizations that are ready for ICD-10 to step up and speak out, according to the panelists in a late-breaking session at the HFMA’s national meeting in Las Vegas.

The 4 panelists all discussed how their organizations and those they worked with—vendors, payers, etc.—were ready and fairly confident about the transition to ICD-10.

“I think as the industry talks about readiness, from a provider perspective, the providers are in a good place,” Betsy Brentz, vice president of operations at Beno Systems, Inc., said. However, she added later on that perhaps the industry should “take the readiness discussion out of this,” since it hadn’t been such a big issue during the last conversion.

A common theme among the panelists, though, was the feeling that most people in the industry were confident about the things they could control, and less confident about what they couldn’t.

“We were a little bit worried about testing,” Glenda Owen, vice president of finance revenue at Seton Healthcare Family, said.

James Heffernan, senior vice president of finance and treasurer at Massachusetts General Physicians Organization, also voiced concerns about testing. In that respect, the delay was worthwhile, he said.

“In our region we were concerned the payers weren’t developing rigorous enough testing,” Heffernan said. “We’re hoping to see more robust end-to-end testing now.”

Despite the frustration with the delay, Owen’s hospital will use the extra time to do additional training with their providers and some more testing. The delay will also allow the hospital to do more dual coding.

Susan Trewhella, associate vice president of coding at Geisinger Health System, said her organization was excited about the transition to ICD-10, and it is continuing to test and work with payers and vendors during the delay. However, she admitted that she was concerned about the readiness of their vendors.

“I think the pause from that perspective was good; however, from a physician education and readiness perspective, [the delay] was a little hard for us to get our arms around that,” she said.

Denesecia Green, acting director of the Administration Simplification Group for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said over the phone that the delay happened partly because the people with the loudest voices had been those who weren’t ready. It was only after the delay that “groups that were ready came out of the woodworks.”

“We need to hear more stories from those who are ready who are working with other groups and have been testing,” she said.