The strange and unpredictable ways of the healthcare IT industry are legend, so last week’s surprising move by Congress to delay the implementation of ICD-10 should not have come as… well, a surprise. But it did – especially given CMS’s vehement and unequivocal statements at the HIMSS14 conference just a few weeks earlier that ICD-10 would not be delayed again.
It is a bit too early to tell what this delay will mean to healthcare providers, payers and vendors; that will depend on what CMS comes up with next.
For PatientKeeper customers who already have upgraded to v8.x, this delay won’t require them to do anything with our software; they will simply wait until the new deadline – whenever that may be – to flip the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 in PK. Unfortunately, this delay will likely be problematic and expensive since many of our customers have been training staff on ICD-10 and doing extensive readiness testing. These initiatives will likely be placed on hold and need to be restarted closer to the deadline. (If you train someone on ICD-10 today and they don’t actually start using it for 18+ months, it isn’t likely they are going to remember much of that training when the time comes.) Likewise, the velocity of change in most of our customers’ IT infrastructure will likely require a re-validation on the then-current set of systems prior to the new deadline.
Over the past two months, numerous physician organizations that we previously had not been engaged with started calling us in a panic asking if we could get them live by October. Now, without an imminent deadline, such organizations can implement PatientKeeper to streamline their charge capture processes in what is still an ICD-9 world; and that very same PatientKeeper Charge Capture software will be ready to support their organization whenever ICD-10 goes live. The business benefits PatientKeeper Charge Capture delivers to provider organizations – increased revenue, fewer lost charges, reduced lag days – represent a compelling value proposition that transcends diagnosis coding systems. While the healthcare industry will continue to anticipate the eventual change-over (and perhaps brace for more “surprises”), at least organizations can take charge capture off their ICD-10 worry list.