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Productivity Loss is Biggest ICD-10 Concern


The top issue that physician practices reported being the most concerned about is the loss of clinician productivity after implementation of ICD-10.

Preparation for the change to ICD-10 is slow going, with just 4.8% of physician practices reporting that they have made significant progress, according to research. Most practices also reported that they aren’t confident they will meet the Oct. 1, 2014 compliance date to adopt ICD-10 coding.

Making the process even more stressful is the fact that more than half still don’t know when their Practice Management System vendor will make the ICD-10 upgrade or replacement, according to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA)

“A successful transition to ICD-10 requires coordination between providers and their vendor, clearinghouse and health plan trading partners,” Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP, MGMA president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Our data suggest that many practices are in the dark in terms of moving forward with ICD-10 as this coordination has not yet occurred. Without the necessary software changes and testing, practices will have no confidence that they will be paid for the care they deliver to their patients after Oct. 1, 2014."

The MGMA surveyed more than 1,200 medical groups where more than 55,000 physicians practice and found that only 5.9% reported internal testing has started or is complete. However, they’re also facing external testing delays with nearly 60% reporting they haven’t even heard from their clearinghouse regarding a testing date.

Nearly 60% of respondents to the MGMA survey said that they are “slightly” or “not at all confident” that their major health plans will be ready to meet the Oct. 1, 2014 compliance date.

“The transition to ICD-10, with its substantial impact on documentation of clinical care, physician productivity and practice reimbursement, is unprecedented,” Turney said. “It is proving to be one of the most complex and expensive changes our health care system has faced in decades."

The top issue that practices reported being the most concerned about is the loss of clinician productivity after implementation. Less than 1% reported not being at all concerned while 70% said they were very concerned. This issue was closely followed by concern over the changes to clinical documentation.

The practice activity that medical groups expect to experience the largest change in difficulty is the ability of clinician to select appropriate diagnosis code. Three-quarters of practices expect this activity to be much more difficult.

More than two-thirds of practices did or will need to upgrade or replace their Practice Management System to accommodate ICD-10 codes. The responding practices indicated that it cost an average of $10,190 per full-time physician to upgrade or replace their Practice Management System to use the ICD-10 diagnosis codes. For the 60% of practices that did or will need to upgrade or replace EHRs, the cost will, on average, be $9,979 per full-time physician.

“Adding to the implementation challenge and clearly taxing all stakeholders, ICD-10 will arrive at the same time that a number of other transformative federal policies go into effect, such as health insurance exchanges and Stage 2 of the CMS Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program,” Turney said.

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