“Aside from a few technical
glitches, so far so good,” said Dr. Stephen Michaels, vice president of medical affairs and chief operating officer at 90-bed MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown, Md. Michaels was the hospital’s lead physician on the ICD-10 conversion. He attributed the brief technical difficulty to switching to ICD-10 while phasing out legacy IT systems. He said the otherwise smooth conversion to a single IT platform came from a lot of planning and preparation.
Michaels said the hospitals had been working toward Oct. 1 since last December. A 10-member committee included leaders from technology, revenue cycle, finance, both inpatient and outpatient physicians and senior leadership, “but there were multiple subcommittees with multiple members,” he said. “We’re talking people meeting weekly for months and months and months.”
“Physicians appear to be calm and stable about it. So far, I’m very happy,” Michaels added.
But even with hospitals, there is an element of uncertainty.
“They’re not expecting anything significant or anything to break,” said Russ Branzell, president and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, a professional association of chief information officers, predominately at large hospitals and health systems.
Still, Branzell said, organizations are approaching the code change
“The real test will be claims flow as we near the end of the month,” he said. “They’re going to have to do some pretty close claim adjudication watching.”
The possibility of delayed claims “is a concern,” Hock said. “I don’t mean cataclysmic cash-flow impacts. But you talk about the impact of three to 10 days in accounts receivable, that’s a big impact for most hospitals. It’s just these little paper cuts about denials and delays in coding” that will wound, he said.
Payer readiness, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, is another unknown.