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Physician Practices Offer Mixed Reviews of ICD-10 Implementation

SAN FRANCISCO – With several weeks of using ICD-10 for billing under their belt, how do physician practices feel about it?

The early reviews were quite mixed.

While Practice Fusion, a cloud-based platform company, said a survey of its community indicated that only 17% of users reported that they found the overall ICD-10 transition "very disruptive" to their practice, other polls were much less positive.

When the physician social media site Sermo poll asked, “Has the transition to ICD-10 taken your time away from patient care?” 86% of the 194 respondents said “yes” and 14% said “no.”

Practice Fusion reported that community healthcare professionals using their system had charted 1 million patient visits with the ICD-10 system as of the first week. The most used ICD-10 codes on the Practice Fusion platform at that point were essential (primary) hypertension (I10), type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications (E11.9), hyperlipidemia, unspecified (E78.5), low back pain (M54.5), and anxiety disorder, unspecified (F41.9).

Interestingly, in a survey before the ICD-10 requirement went into effect, the company found that only 18% of healthcare professionals felt prepared for the transition, and 61% felt unsure.

It will be a while before anyone one officially knows how successful the transition has been, however.

Sean Cavanaugh, deputy administrator and director of CMS, notes in a blog posted on Oct. 1, “You may wonder when we’ll know how the transition is going. It will take a couple of weeks before we have the full picture of ICD-10 implementation because very few health care providers file claims on the same day a medical service is given. Most providers batch their claims and submit them every few days.”

Even then, a clear picture probably won’t emerge, he writes.

“Even after submission, Medicare claims take several days to be processed, and Medicare – by law – must wait two weeks before issuing payment,” Cavanaugh points out. “Medicaid claims can take up to 30 days to be submitted and processed by states. Because of these timeframes, we expect to know more about the transition to ICD-10 after completion of a full billing cycle.”