Unbelievable – one more big government snafu to complicate health care and its hard-pressed providers. Congress passed a fix bill in early April focused on postponing Medicare cuts in reimbursement under the “Sustainable Growth Rate formula,” part of the big “cost containment” effort to further complicate the provision of health care. So, the AMA stepped in and lobbied to throw in the ICD-10 implementation set to take place on October 1, 2014, as a consolation. And, the bill passed!! So 2015 is the new date (put off something like 10 years now while the rest of the world uses the ICD-10).
The cynical view is that with all the new rules about compliance (including the “meaningful use” mandated for this year), fully implementing the EHR (Electronic Health Record), then adding the ICD-10 process, it boils down to just another way of payers not paying providers. Adding 64,000 codes makes the process so complex, that providers believe the probability is it will be more difficult to get paid. Many wonder if they will have the time to see patients at all.
Meanwhile, hospitals and clinics are furious about the cost of the delay. Most have invested heavily in the IT required to make it all happen and most are ready or would have been by October 1, 2014. The American Health Information Management Association estimated that a one-year delay will cost the healthcare industry up to $6.6 billion. Other estimates state that postponement will cost hospitals (depending on size) from $500,000 to $3 million each.
Training costs are a serious matter as well. Providers have invested in staff training as well as adding additional coders. In schools, currently there are more than 25,000 students studying to work as medical coders and in those who actually have the updated ICD-10 curricula, many are being trained with only the ICD-10.
The good news is that Med-Certification.Com’s coding training program includes both the ICD-9 and the ICD-10 since we believe both code sets will be used for months or years after the ICD-10 actual implementation.
The upside is that practices will have more time to learn and prepare for the new coding process. Overworked and often underpaid, the physicians will have the opportunity to really get their heads around the taxonomy of ICD-10 and appreciate the improvement over an antiquated coding system. Ultimately, they are responsible for what gets coded and delegating that responsibility to coders entirely is not a good idea.
The challenge remains: Learn the ICD-10 system and make sure the practice vendor’s software works so that payment is made without any blips.
Coding Training is our forte and it includes the ICD-10. Check it our here:
Look at the top of the line Coding Software too: Alpha II:http://www.med-certification.com/product-category/software/
Stay tuned for the latest news on the health care front….