Industry falling behind on ICD-10 prep

Industry falling behind on ICD-10 preparation

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) announced April 11 that it had submitted its ICD-10 industry readiness survey to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Its findings continue to show insufficient readiness for the October 2014 transition deadline.

WEDI's assessment is based on survey responses collected from nearly 1,000 providers, health plans and vendors this past February.

Based on the milestones suggested in the revised North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance/WEDI ICD-10 Implementation Timeline, the results suggest the industry is "falling behind" with ICD-10 compliance, WEDI officials reported.

"While the NCHICA/WEDI timeline represented an orderly, consensus-based approach to compliance with all entities, it has become clear that many entities postponed their work until much later," said Stanley Nachimson, director of the NCHICA/WEDI timeline initiative, in a press statement.

"It remains to be seen how this postponement will affect the progress to compliance. Indications remain that significant numbers of industry participants have a considerable amount of work to do in a very short time," he added.

The ICD-10 survey questions aimed mostly at status, rather than approaches to compliance. They paralleled those in the February 2012 survey to facilitate a direct comparison. Results suggest there's been a shift in project timelines, irrespective of entity type. Factors that contributed to this slow progress include the change in compliance dates, competing internal priorities and other regulatory mandates, the survey showed.

Other findings from the report include the fact that nearly half of health plans expect to begin external ICD-10 testing by the end of this year. In the 2012 survey, all health plans had expected to begin in 2013.

Meanwhile, roughly half of the providers polled said they didn't know when testing would occur; more than two-fifths of them said they did not know when they would complete their impact assessment and business changes.

As for vendors, some two-thirds said they planned to begin customer review and beta testing by the end of this year – roughly similar to the number who expected to begin by the end of 2012 in the prior survey.

"The survey results show that projected timeframes for testing have shifted and many organizations will not begin this task until 2014," said WEDI Chairman Jim Daley, in a statement. "Because of the magnitude of ICD-10 it is critical that organizations complete their remediation efforts as quickly as possible in order to allow adequate time for testing."

Since 2009, WEDI has conducted ICD-10 readiness surveys to measure the progress of industry compliance. As an advisor under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, WEDI brings to the attention of CMS issues that it believes warrant review and consideration.

WEDI will continue to conduct surveys throughout 2013 and 2014, officials said.

See a copy of WEDI's letter to CMS here.