KLAS: Providers crawling toward ICD-10 readiness

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Nine percent of healthcare providers are over the halfway point in terms of being fully prepared for ICD-10, according to a report from market researcher KLAS.

According to Orem, Utah-based KLAS, while providers know a lack of preparation could result in a halt to reimbursements and a revenue cycle disaster when ICD-10 comes, KLAS found that most organizations are still in the strategy/planning phase of their preparation. Seventy-six percent believe that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not push back the ICD-10 deadline while 8 percent have not yet started preparations.

This is significant given that providers further down the path of preparation told KLAS that ICD-10 readiness is a complex and costly initiative, one that will require significant time and resources, according to the report. This research also found that many providers have not yet established an ICD-10 budget.

“That said, feedback from more progressive organizations indicates ICD-10 won't be cheap,” the report noted. “Some large health systems are planning to spend tens of millions of dollars on their ICD-10 preparation, while some mid-size hospitals are planning to spend several million.”

Some of the internal steps these providers have taken are developing a steering committee; creating a comprehensive ICD-10 readiness strategy; developing training plans for coders, physicians, nurses and other staff; assessing compliance and technology needs; and formulating a detailed budget.

Nearly two-thirds of providers (65 percent) in “ICD-10: Preparing for October 2013” are engaging or planning to engage with third party firms to assist with one or more of these preparation steps. The report found that the majority of these providers currently engaging with firms do so for strategy and gap-analysis work; whereas, most providers planning to use a third-party firm in the future say they will do so for training their staff. Many providers are rushing to engage with firms, as demand for them is increasing.

KLAS interviewed 163 providers to understand their ICD-10 readiness strategy, major concerns, progress in preparing, confidence in their core and component vendors' ICD-10 readiness and intentions for using third-party firms to assist them. The organization also found that 60 percent of providers were concerned about the ICD-10 readiness of their core clinical/financial vendor. Nearly half of those interviewed stated they felt their coding vendor was their most progressive vendor in helping them prepare for ICD-10 readiness.

"Providers in the early stages of ICD-10 readiness still have time to fully develop and implement a strategy, but that window of time is shrinking," concluded the report. "Organizations that don't have the internal expertise to create a strategic road map, train coders and staff, or ensure compliance needs are met will have to look to consulting firms--demand for which is quickly increasing."