Whether a health plan wants to merely comply or become an innovator, the company needs to prepare now. The North Carolina Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance, Inc., and The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange recently released a timeline for ICD-10 preparation. The groups estimate that it could take four years for providers to implement ICD-10.
Biel concurs with the assessment. "Even though we're four years away technically, the magnitude of the change is large enough that if you don't start looking at the impact now, then you won't have created a budget for 2010 to start the process," he says.
So, what can health insurers do now? Biel offers these four steps:
But don't wait to start this process. If your company has not already started the process to implement ICD-10, you are already behind your competitors. Get to work now.
"I believe all health plans before the 2010 budgeting cycle should have an idea of what the impact is, what their road map is to compliance, and how much they need to budget over the next three years—especially the next year," says Biel.