Freas says Southwest General is in the process of determining its plans for handling the delay but adds, "I do not see a scenario where we would stop the implementation process. We have no way of knowing that this delay will not again occur before the October 1, 2015 deadline, so we need to be prepared. Successful implementation is vital to cash flow."
Mark Bogen, senior vice president and CFO at South Nassau Communities Hospital, a 435-bed acute care hospital in Oceanside, NY, also believes the biggest opportunity cost will be the loss of physician focus.
"Although [the delay] may help in certain aspects of the implementation as we are considering computer-assisted coding and a remote coding program to help recruit and retain coders, I believe that the momentum loss from working with the physicians will outweigh any benefits derived from the delay," Bogen says.
"We have been actively holding training sessions on ICD-10 for our voluntary staff and their office staff, and our coding folks at the hospital have been regularly attending clinical departmental meetings to review examples of hospital-based DRGs where the ICD-10 exposure may be significant. With this delay, the physicians will likely lose interest and focus, and rather than gaining a full year to enhance their education and knowledge of ICD-10, they will go into a hibernation mode. They now may even believe that there is a real possibility that there will be another delay or even a complete deferral of the adoption based on what they see as the success by the AMA and others in obtaining the delay until October 1, 2015."