ICD-10 Readiness: Now or Later?

Steve Kasnoff, Associate Vice President of Consulting – May 1, 2014

Now that the ICD-10 Delay is upon us, organizations wonder about what to do next. Those organizations ready to implement in 2014 ponder the best approach for maintaining progress to date on the ICD-10 conversion while reconfiguring their internal systems to process ICD-9 codes past 10/1/2014. Organizations who have initiated their ICD-10 conversion are evaluating the best approach for maintaining momentum without over committing resources and dollars now marked for a 2015 initiative. Those organizations that have not yet started their conversion are breathing a sigh of relief and wonder why everyone else committed resources and dollars towards a mandate that clearly wasn't going to happen this year.

While it may be delayed, ICD-10 is not likely to go away. The potential long-term benefits associated with increased code accuracy afforded by ICD-10 (such as: accurate payment, fewer rejected and fraudulent claims, increased understanding of new procedures, and improved disease management) are as valid today as they were in 2004. ICD-10 Readiness, in all its multiple forms, should remain a priority in 2014 for organizations having initiated or almost completed their migrations, and should remain priority for those organizations who have not yet begun.

The benefits of completing ICD-10 Readiness activities cannot be understated. Internal end-to-end testing ensures that ICD-10 claims will process in a timely fashion and provide insight into potential benefit and financial impacts. External end-to-end testing and content based assessment provides some measure of feedback to the providers regarding their ability to code in ICD-10 while offering some insight into the financial implications of the ICD-10 migration on their practice. Internal trainings and educational seminars will help minimize operational impact. Trainings, discussion forums and other methods of communication to the provider community help minimize any confusion, anxiety or displeasure regarding the use of ICD-10 within the provider community at large, while minimizing the impact ICD-10 migration on the facility and individual.

ICD-10 is inevitable. Although, for those organizations that have recently begun or not begun at all, the amount of work to achieve Readiness seems daunting, almost more than any organization can take on in a short period of time. The delay to 2015 provides an opportunity for the smart organization to fully examine their Readiness approach and execute it in a way that guarantees success for themselves and the provider community at large.