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External testing stats stick out in ICD-10 preparedness survey

The ICD-10 deadline hasn’t changed since a delay was signed into law more than a year ago. Just as the ICD-10 implementation date hasn’t budged since then, so too has the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) in its belief that the healthcare industry may not be ready for the new coding system in time for the Oct.1 conversion date.

A recent WEDI survey — part of a series dating back to 2009 — measured where the industry stands in overall ICD-10 preparedness. Some of the results of the Feb. 2015 survey were notable enough to be included in a letter sent to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Of the approximately 1,200 respondents, nearly 800 were providers. Only a quarter of providers had begun external testing of ICD-10 — in other words, determining how well vendors and other business partners are adjusted to the new coding set — according to the survey results. Slightly more than one-third of providers said they have completed an ICD-10 impact assessment, a figure that decreased since WEDI’s last ICD-10 preparedness survey.

The letter to Secretary Burwell wasn’t the only avenue through which the workgroup made its skepticism known. In a press release about the survey results, WEDI President and CEO Devin Jopp, Ed.D, said, “Unless all industry segments take the initiative to make a dedicated effort and move forward with their implementation work, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015.”

WEDI’s previous ICD-10 readiness survey was completed in August 2014 and made it appear progress was being made in the external testing department. The number of health plans that had begun external testing in 2014 was more than twice that of the group that did so in 2013. Responding health plans also reported a spike in internal testing between the 2014 and 2013 surveys. Fewer than half had started internal testing in 2013 and almost 75% had started that process by August 2014.

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