The decision by lawmakers to delay implementation of ICD-10 by a year will give hospitals extra time to get ready for the transition, but will have a negative financial impact.
Renée Monahan, vice president of revenue cycle at Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa., and Kristen Shoup, manager of revenue cycle at Wooster Community Hospital in Wooster, Ohio, said that their health systems would have been ready for the ICD-10 conversion by October of this year, but they will use the additional time given by the delay for dual-coding and assessing areas of documentation improvement.
“One thing the delay will create is additional ‘practice’ for our coders, as well as more time to assess areas of documentation improvement that can be addressed before final implementation,” said Monahan.
“The investment in coder training are not lost dollars, we will just use the additional time to practice more,” added Shoup. “This will also allow us to ease the physicians into the transition more gradually, as we will query based on ICD-10 concepts, with the intent to reinforce the information needed.”
However, both Shoup and Monahan said they are concerned that the implementation delay could have negative impacts on their hospitals.
“We have invested in a baseline analysis to determine potential financial impact – that may need to be repeated,” said Shoup.
For Conemaugh Health System, a delay will likely result in an organizational re-focus, said Monahan.
“Given the fact that this is the second delay, it will be very hard to convince physicians and leadership to take the program seriously and invest the additional time and dollars to get us ready for the ICD-10 conversion when it finally happens,” she said.