ICD-10 was supposed to take effect on Oct. 1, 2013 but the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012 rolled back the deadline for a year after providers complained. MGMA has not called for another implementation delay, but Tennant says the likelihood of a smooth transition diminishes by the day.
"Can it get done in time? Let's just say that everything came together in September. That is not enough time," he says. "The industry is a little like the Titanic. It can turn, but very slowly. We are concerned that there won't be enough time for testing. The government experienced that with healthcare.gov."
"If you don't test, you run the risk of problems," Tennant says. "And ICD-10 impacts every part of healthcare on the practice side, the clinical, the administrative, the entire revenue cycle. So, if things don't go smoothly it could dramatically impact cash flow for practices and ultimately that could impact patient care."
Flipping the switch to ICD-10 will come at the same time that providers are grappling with interoperability and other complex issues under Meaningful Use Stage 2 that must be implemented to avoid financial penalties. In addition, no one really knows how the first full year of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will play out for providers as the healthcare sector continues its shift towards population health, value-based payments and accountable care, and other fundamental changes.