For Hospital CFOs, ICD-10 Delay a Costly Disappointment

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media , April 7, 2014

Dudley says the setback will also prevent provider organizations from benefitting from the greater specificity that ICD-10 promises to deliver, which could be used to identify clinical outliers in order to improve care and bring down costs.

"I think that one of the lost opportunities is that with ICD-10 we will be able to drill down a little more deeply in terms of what is actually costing the most and the variances between one facility versus another, so again there is a missed opportunity there," he says.

Losing physician engagement

Mary Ann Freas, vice president and CFO at Southwest General Health Center, a 358-bed institution in Middleburg Heights, OH, says she is "disappointed" with the decision to delay and is especially concerned it will have a negative impact on physician buy-in around the new coding protocols.

"Our organization has spent many hours and dollars preparing for the ICD-10 transition," she says. "We are in danger of losing momentum, particularly when it comes to physician engagement. This will be the second time the implementation has been delayed, and we are beginning to look like Chicken Little. Physician engagement is key to a successful transition, particularly since the single largest risk to successful implementation relies on additional physician documentation… If we are able to engage [physicians] in documentation needed for ICD-10 coding, the world will be perfect. However, to them, time is money, and the extra time it will take to educate themselves and to add the required additional documentation specificity may not be worth the effort."

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