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Survey: Physician Practices Still Lagging With ICD-10 Prep, Testing

June 22, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Provider organizations have completed many key steps in the ICD-10 implementation process, but are still lag behind in testing, according to a new survey from the eHealth Initiative and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

The survey, which is done annually, polled 271 providers, and was conducted between May and June of this year. Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they are providing ICD-10 resources and educational materials to their staff; 73 percent said they are creating teams to assess readiness and make implementation preparations; 72 percent said they are training staff on ICD-10 use; 66 percent said they are updating their systems to support ICD-10 codes; and 64 percent reported they are reviewing internal processes and workflows.

In terms of preparation for the ICD-10 transition, 50 percent of respondents said they have conducted test transactions with payers and clearinghouses; 34 percent said they have completed all internal testing; and 17 percent said they have completed all external testing. Only 19 percent of respondents reported having no plans to conduct end-to-end testing.

However, the results differed when broken down into hospitals and physician practices. Most hospitals (85 percent) have trained their staffs on using ICD-10, compared with 41 percent of physician practices. Sixty-four percent of hospitals have budgeted for time and costs associated with the transition, while just 19 percent of practices have done the same. Seventy-two percent of hospitals said they performed the necessary system upgrades and updates to support ICD-10, compared with 36 percent of physician practices. And six in 10 hospitals said they conducted test transactions using ICD-10 codes with payers and clearinghouses, compared with just 17 percent of practices. The research also found that the larger the organization, the more prepared it was.

What’s more, despite limited testing and evaluation, organizations generally believe ICD-10 will reduce revenues: 38 percent of those surveyed said that revenue will decrease; 21 percent said revenue won’t be affected; 6 percent said revenue will increase; and 34 percent said that his or her organization has not conducted a revenue impact assessment. The biggest reasons for why there would be a decrease in revenue were: transition will result in increased number of denied claims or decreased reimbursement (78 percent); and reduced coding productivity or accuracy will increase costs (80 percent).

However, organizations recognize many long term benefits of ICD-10, a growing sentiment since last year’s survey, according to the research. Also, most respondents expect to continue managing the impact of ICD-10 following the deadline, the data revealed.

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