How to cut ICD-10 transition costs

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

The perceived cost of ICD-10 implementation is the real reason behind the physician resistance to ICD-10 implementation.

It doesn't help that there are plenty of articles comparing ICD-10 implementation to Y2K. Who really wants to take on that?

The Journal of AHIMA takes on the cost issue with a piece of analysis that concludes that ICD-10 implementation will cost less than most healthcare professionals think. We're talking $1,960-$5,900 for small medical practices. The bulk of that goes toward ICD-10 training.

This low, low price for ICD-10 implementation is based upon a couple important assumptions:

  1. The software upgrade costs will be practically zero because many vendors aren't charging for it.
  2. Productivity losses will not be as drastic as feared.

Before you revise your medical practice's 2015 budget, you need to think of this article as a best-case scenario. Medical practices need to make the calculations.

[See also:What needs to be in your ICD-10 budget]

But JOA piece is a pretty good guide to cutting ICD-10 transition costs

ICD-10 Resources for Small Physician Practices on Medscape

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offers three new resources for ICD-10 training:


Participate in ICD-10 Acknowledgement Testing Week: November 17 through 21, 2014

CMS offers acknowledgement testing next week. All it's going to tell you is whether your ICD-10 claims will pass muster. But it's still worth the time and effort for medical practices to participate in ICD-10 acknowledgement testing.

Managing the ICD-10 Doubt

While we wonder if there will be another ICD-10 delay, Linda Reed recommends some steps that help healthcare organizations no matter what CMS does:

  • "Assess your high-volume, high-reimbursement procedures and codes."
  • "Target coder training."
  • "Understand and address your clinical documentation gaps."
  • "Ramp up your clinical documentation improvement program."
  • "Have a backup plan for additional coder resources."
  • "Optimize your revenue cycle now by reducing AR days."
  • "Assess your reserves and increase, as able, work with your vendor partners to anticipate cash flow-based, accounts payable delays."

(H&HN Daily)

Do Delays in ICD-10 Implementation Teach the Wrong Lesson?

Dr.  James Libecco, owner of a single-physician practice at Akron Skin Center, Ohio, makes the ICD-10 transition sound easy:

  • He has been ready for a couple years.
  • Libecco is a dermatologist who sees a lot of advantages in ICD-10 codes.
  • Software already has been compatible.
  • There has been an investment of time to understand ICD-10 coding and verifying ICD-10 codes.
  • He is dual coding now.

This doesn't exactly look like the disruptive force that the American Medical Association (AMA) vigorously opposes. (

ICD-10: Ready to waste more money?

Anthony Brino considers some of my political analysis of the ICD-10 debate and adds another consideration: The Republicans control Congress and they're not fans of government regulation. It's not that simple, which is why Brino referenced my points about financial incentives and fraud prevention. (Government Health IT)