Docs say ICD-10 implementation carries hefty cost
With 16 months left before the CMS expects the healthcare industry to flip the switch to ICD-10, physicians are still expressing significant worries with the readiness of the technology that has to be upgraded to pull it off. They’re also signaling resignation that the long-delayed conversion will really happen this time.
In a survey of more than 1,000 officebased physician practices by the trade group MGMA, more than half of the respondents indicated they were “very concerned” about the overall cost of the conversion to the new diagnosis and procedure codes, scheduled for Oct. 1, 2014.
Roughly 70% said they were very concerned that it will make clinicians less productive, and the same percentage were very concerned about changes to clinical documentation.
Practices estimated that it will cost about $10,000 per physician to upgrade or replace their EHRs to use ICD-10 codes, with 60% indicating their systems still need to be upgraded and only half reporting that they had heard from their vendor when that upgrade will be available.
“That’s one of our main concerns,” said Robert Tennant, MGMA’s senior policy adviser. “You can’t start the testing with your external partners until you have your internal systems in place.”
The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, which has fought vigorously to stave off the conversion and continues to oppose it, voted last week to push a phased rollout over two years if the CMS sticks to the 2014 date.
“I’m afraid that ICD-10, with its oneday implementation period, will be the final nail in the coffin for small practices,” said Dr. W. Jeff Terry, a urologist from Mobile, Ala., and the former president of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.