ICD-10 transition going better than expected for healthcare operators

Despite two delays and a host of costly implementation issues over the past year, most healthcare providers will likely make a successful transition to the 10th round of ICD codes, a General Accountability Office report has concluded.

October 1 is the deadline for transitioning to the latest revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) codes, which are used for documenting patient medical diagnoses and inpatient medical procedures. Two earlier transition deadlines were postponed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Both CMS and covered entities have been called upon to develop, test, and implement information technology systems that can process the new codes. Despite CMS efforts to educate providers and modify its internal business processes, the transition has been “costly and burdensome to covered entities that were prepared for [an] earlier transition date,” according to GAO's January 28 report to Congress.

Still, Senate Finance Committee members Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) gave CMS a vote of confidence on Friday after reading the GAO reports' findings, according to a Modern Healthcare report.

Among the problems that need to be worked out are glitches with end-to-end testing of Medicare claims-processing systems among about 800 organizations, and general readiness of Medicaid agencies, the report noted. Even skeptics of some of the readiness procedures have said it does not appear CMS would delay implementation again.