Less than 10% of Practices Ready for ICD-10

While practice readiness for ICD-10 transition is up 4.7% from six months ago, less than 10% of practices are prepared for the rapidly approaching Oct. 1 transition deadline.

While practice readiness for ICD-10 transition is up 4.7% from six months ago, less than 10% of practices are prepared for the rapidly approaching Oct. 1 transition deadline, according to a new Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) survey.

The MGMA found several issues that need to be addressed to prepare medical groups for this transition. For example, 80% of medical groups say their software will need to be updated to process the increase in codes—ICD-10 has five times more codes than ICD-9.

“The critical coordination that must take place between practices and their software vendor, clearinghouse and health plan partners is simply not happening at the pace required for a seamless implementation. Very simply, ICD-10 is behind schedule,” Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACP, FACMPE, MGMA president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

A large majority (89%) of survey participants were concerned that clinician productivity will be negatively affected by this transition. They were equally concerned with the changes in documentation that will come. Additionally, 70% of respondents said they have no indication from major health plans for when ICD-10 coding will be implemented.

Furthermore, the MGMA found that significant costs would be absorbed by the practices. Only 41% reported that the cost to upgrade or replace practice management system software will be covered by the vendor.

To help medical groups make the transition to ICD-10 smoothly, MGMA is recommending CMS does the following:

Beginning to end physician practice testing and claim assessment

Encouraging and partaking in Medicare and Medicaid payment edits

Following up on the readiness of Medicare contractors/Medicaid agencies, as well as making them publically available

Specific outreach to practice management and electronic health record software vendors

Providing additional education to practices, providing extra accommodation to smaller organizations

“As the agency overseeing the nation’s largest health plan, it is imperative that CMS show leadership by reversing its position and begin end-to-end provider testing,” said Turney. “The publication of testing schedules, payment policies and readiness levels are all necessary actions for both CMS and practice trading partners in the private sector. Without this preparation, there will be significant increases in cash flow disruptions to practices that will affect the ability to treat patients.”

Turney, added that the MGMA will continue to follow up on medical groups’ transition to this new code set.