The Impact of Another ICD-10 Delay


We recently asked UPAL members and practice administrators to weigh in on how the ICD-10 implementation delay will affect their practice. We got a lot of really interesting feedback that shed some light on how healthcare providers feel about another postponement (one of many, and who knows how many more to come). If you haven’t provided your point of view yet, it’s not too late. Take our quick, confidential survey here to share your thoughts and concerns. We are interested to know how this impacts all of our members. To read our original article on the subject, click here.

Were you ready?

The intended date for ICD-10 implementation was scheduled for this coming October, only a few months away. According to CMS, there were to be no more delays. October 2014 was it, and providers, coders, health plans and the rest of the healthcare industry were getting ready for that date. So were you ready? Our survey showed that 42% of you weren’t completely prepared but were confident that you would be before the deadline. While only 28% were just beginning to prepare, another 28% said you were completely ready for ICD-10. Now that we know ICD-10 will be delayed until at least October 2015, 42% of you said this won’t affect your preparation plan and you intend to stay on your current course. Another 42% of you said you will have to revise your plan, and 14% said it will depend on what insurance companies do.

ICD-10 How Ready Chart

Sizing Up The Obstacles

It’s obvious that a big challenge faced by practices getting prepared for ICD-10 was financial cost. There were other obstacles too. More coding education, additional training for physicians on documentation, and waiting on software updates were all concerns expressed by providers and their staff. Many of you said you faced a combination of all of these challenges.

ICD-10 Obstacles Graph

The Cost of another Delay

This is the part of the survey that was particularly telling. The financial cost for some was staggering; with 14% reporting that they had already spent over $50,000 to get ready. Another 14% have spent between $10,000 and $20,000 while 71% were still under the $10,000 mark in ICD-10 preparation expenses. We learned that you and your staff were really working hard on education and training to get prepared for this year’s deadline.

30% of the practices surveyed said they had completed training, with many of those reporting that they had also completed proficiency testing. Over 70% said that they were in the process of taking ICD-10 training courses. Only time will tell how useful all that effort dedicated to education will be. One concern is that much of the information will be forgotten and there will be added costs for additional training and course refreshers later.

Countless doctors and staff were relieved to see another delay in the implementation, welcoming the additional time to update software and train staff. But many more feel that despite the cost and headaches, updating our system of diagnosis coding is a step in the right direction, one that we shouldn’t keep putting off year after year. Hopefully all of the time and money already spent by practices will not go to waste. For more interesting facts about the ICD-10 delay, see our article titled Next to Last Word (Maybe) Regarding SGR and ICD-10 Extensions.