Two-thirds of providers hire consultants to prepare for ICD-10

by Healthcare IT News

The Department of Health and Human Services' August decision finalizing a one-year delay for ICD-10 has given providers additional time to make the necessary preparations for the switch, and, according to a KLAS report released Monday, most of them plan to use a third-party firm to help get them there.  

The report, "ICD Consulting: Roadmap to a Successful Transition," finds that to prepare for the Oct. 1, 2014 deadline for ICD-10, nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of providers are consulting a third-party to help them successfully move to the new coding system.

Other report findings show that San Francisco-based professional services firm Deloitte together with Washington, D.C.-based research and consulting firm The Advisory Board are among the top firms chosen by providers for ICD-10 support.

The complexity of the new coding system and the initially proposed October 2013 start date for ICD-10 prompted Barry Blumenfeld, MD, CIO of MaineHealth – an eight-hospital health system in Maine – to consult London-based professional service firm Ernst & Young for support. MaineHealth commissioned a study by the firm more than a year ago, which has helped get their house in order.

"We've been working through all of the other supporting systems," Blumenfeld told Healthcare IT News. "We've purchased the tools that we need in terms of being ready for our coders to work in ICD-10."

He said MaineHealth could have made the 2013 deadline, but all-in-all, they're relieved it was pushed back to 2014. "Worst case, it just gives our folks in medical records a little bit more time to practice."

Industry officials say all the processes that go into the ICD-10 switchover make this a huge undertaking for providers.

This diagnosis code is slated to replace ICD-9 and expand the number of diagnosis and procedural codes from 17,000 to some 155,000.

"It’s not the number," said Blumenfeld in an interview with Healthcare IT News last summer. The complex addition of coding, he added, "makes things very complicated for physicians choosing codes and will require a lot of training and a lot of insight into how these codes are different."