You’re doing everything you can to be ICD-10 ready, but what about your vendor? While most hospitals expect to meet ICD-10 requirements by October 2014, a recent study by the American Hospital Association (AHA) reveals that hospitals see timely vendor upgrades as one of the largest external threats to implementation. With more than 5,000 hospitals and many more physicians’ practices transitioning to ICD-10 simultaneously, everyone is feeling the crunch – especially facilities that may have anticipated an additional extension.
Physicians may start feeling the effects sooner than originally anticipated. Just last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced that beginning April 1, 2014, it will no longer accept the current Medicare paper claim form, which is being updated to reflect ICD-10 codes. This means those physicians who currently use this form will need to switch to the new version (CMS-1500, version 02/12) in which is embedded a requirement for supporting a component of ICD-10 early. This change will, without a doubt, offer them some insight into the challenges that organizations will face come the October 2014 transition deadline.
And so the pressure is on to be ICD-10 ready sooner rather than later, and while hospitals may be doing everything within their control to be ready on time, vendor readiness and other external factors may put them at risk.
Timely Vendor Upgrades
“Timely vendor upgrades” was cited as one of the largest external threats to ICD-10 implementation in the AHA study, with 81 percent of hospitals rating it as a moderate to very significant risk factor. Much like nutrition is to the body, these codes are critical to the overall health and wellbeing of the organization, therefore vendor readiness is essential to successful ICD-10 transition. There are two essential parts to ensuring vendor ICD-10 readiness: software readiness and a vendor’s ability to support providers through the process. A few questions to consider include:
- Does your vendor have a solid track record for timely software releases, implementations and training? Peer ratings are one resource that provides some additional information that can help assess vendor readiness.
- Does your current encoder support ICD-10-CM/PCS? If not, moving to an ICD-10 ready version sooner than later gives more flexibility in the transition.
- If using computer-assisted coding (CAC) software, when will it support ICD-10? Many providers are looking to CAC to help offset coding productivity losses, and manage ICD-10 code sets, so it’s important to consider when ICD-10 will be available, as well as the strength of a Natural Language Processing (NLP) engine’s ontology so it can handle the increased complexity.
The move to ICD-10 involves significant planning, which should include risk mitigation for external threats, and planning for continued partnership after October 2014. Now is the time to ensure your organization has the right ingredients necessary to continue nourishing its successful growth.