ICD-10The Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is moving ahead as planned with its October 1st compliance deadline for ICD-10 implementation. Many healthcare systems have requested that the deadline be postponed due to the mounting challenges they face with co-occurring Meaningful Use Stage 2 deadlines.

Keynote Address on ICD-10

During a keynote address at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) convention last week, Marilyn Tavenner, Administrator for CMS, told the audience that there would be no delay for ICD-10. “Let’s face it guys, we’ve delayed this several times and it’s time to move on.” Tavenner said, thereby closing the discussion on ICD-10 deadlines that has been ongoing for several years.

Criticism to ICD-10 Deadline Inflexibility

CMS has also received criticism of its inflexible deadlines regarding Meaningful Use Stage 2 compliance, a process that’s complexity varies from hospital to hospital. The general consensus has long been that one size doesn’t fit all. Responding to these concerns, Tavenner made no promises about extending Meaningful Use deadlines for healthcare systems, but said that in the event of legitimate issues, such as an EHR vendor going out of business and leaving a hospital in a lurch, the CMS would review applications for extensions on a case-by-case basis and entertain the idea of “hardship extensions.”

ICD-10 Versus ICD-9

To further put the challenge of ICD-10 transition in perspective, ICD-9 contains 14,000 codes that insurers and healthcare providers use to document and bill claims. ICD-10 will increase that number to 69,000– an unprecedented four-fold increase.

ICD-10 Implementation

With the October 1st deadline looming large, healthcare systems nationwide are shifting into overdrive. The implementation of software in and of itself is a multi-step process that incorporates budgeting, training and project management. Cost-effective measures must be in place to train staff and ensure compliance with Meaningful Use Stage 2 goals. The mounting requirements have not just healthcare systems, but vendors and payers as well, buckling under the pressure.

Financing for ICD-10

Completion of the task merely begins at the implementation stage; these major software transitions need to be thoroughly tested and this requires the input of expert consultants and IT staff, who must work together with hospital staff and EMR vendors to ensure that the product is equipped, functioning and ready for the onslaught of those 69,000 codes. They must also ensure that the staff is ready and comfortable with this new technology and has proper support in place to troubleshoot issues post Go-Live.

For many healthcare systems, finding money in their budget for software alone presents a unique challenge– with the state of healthcare and the overall economy weighing heavily on the shoulders of administrators. But with the final word from CMS being a non-negotiable date of compliance, hospitals and providers have no choice but to jump in.

This is no small task for any healthcare system, but BHM Healthcare Solutions can help. If you have questions about your readiness, are in need of financial analysis or project management, or need assistance in meeting your ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage 2 goals, please contact us.

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