Physician Practice

Smaller organizations lag in ICD-10 preparation, but it's not too late

Physician Practice Insider, July 28, 2015


How ready are you for ICD-10? The answer might depend on the type and size of your organization.
Eighty-five percent of hospitals reported training staff on ICD-10, according to a recent eHealth initiative survey of 271 providers, while only 41% of physician practices have completed that task.
Practices are also less likely to offer additional training for coders to maintain their skills. The survey found that 74% of all organizations offer additional coding training. Hospitals (80%) are more likely to provide additional training compared to practices (58%).
The survey found that just over half (60%) of small hospitals with less than 100 beds offer additional training to coders.
This makes a certain amount of sense. Small practices and hospitals are less likely to have the time and resources to devote to training and continuing education. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late for them to prepare. CMS just released a guide for organizations to get on track to implementation no matter what step they’re on.
This lack of training could be a problem since smaller organizations are more likely to rely on in-house coders, the survey concluded. Small hospitals (15%) and practices (14%) were the least likely groups to be planning on hiring more coders after the transition.
Smaller practices might have a different focus for the challenges they face in the countdown to ICD-10. According to the survey, the top challenge for all organizations is maintaining clinical workflow and productivity. However, for both practices and small hospitals, the second greatest challenge relates to vendor and partner readiness. Both also say lack of testing is the next top challenge.
Challenges related to testing and vendors shouldn’t be a surprise for providers—we’ve been talking about them for five years. With fewer than 100 days to go until implementation, though, providers of all size must ensure their software can handle ICD-10. CMS is running continuous acknowledgement testing for providers. Even though it’s not as complete as end-to-end testing, providers should take advantage of the opportunity to test their systems ahead of October 1.

This article originally appeared on HCPro’s ICD-10 Trainer blog.


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