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KLAS: Providers seek help for ICD-10 compliance

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | October 25, 2011
With a deadline a mere two years away, U.S. health care providers are finding an upgrade to a new morbidity classification system a bit of a struggle, according to a new KLAS report.

Only 9 percent of health care providers are more than halfway through getting to full compliance for upgrading to ICD-10 codes, and most expect to hire consultants to help them go all the way, KLAS said in a report teaser, released Tuesday.

Based on a system developed by the World Health Organization, ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS are replacing the more than 30-year-old ICD-9 systems for classifying diagnoses and inpatient procedures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services requires all U.S. providers to upgrade to ICO-10-CM for diagnostic codes by Oct. 1, 2013. And hospitals have to move to ICD-10-PCS by the same date if they want to get reimbursed for inpatient procedures.

On a related front, providers covered by HIPAA must also upgrade to Version 5010, for submitting electronic claims, by the end of the year.

The new codes, already adopted by all industrial countries but the United States, according to the American Health Information Management Association, apparently are more detailed and allow better disease tracking for public health officials. But transition could be a tall order, as the new system is much more complex than ICD-9. For instance, ICD-10-CM has 68,000 diagnostic codes, compared to ICD-9's 13,000, according to an AHIMA tutorial on the switch-over.

That's partly why the KLAS report, ICD-10: Preparing for October 2013, found hospitals and other organizations were seeking outside help. About two-thirds of respondents in the report are hiring, or will hire, consultants, KLAS said, either for strategic planning or staff training.

"It is a feeding frenzy for consultants," a provider told the Orem, Utah-based KLAS.

The transition could also be costly, with hospitals saying they'll spend millions of dollars on the upgrade, KLAS said.

Plus, some providers are fretting that vendors of their clinical and financial systems aren't up to snuff. About 60 percent of respondents said they were worried these vendors weren't ready for ICD-10, KLAS said.

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