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WEDI foresees unsteady ICD-10 transition, urges actions from HHS

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), disconcerted by the responses of physicians to its eleventh ICD-10 readiness survey, used those results to make recommendations to HHS.

The survey showed that physicians are behind hospitals and health systems in their preparations for the ICD-10 transition. Almost 25% of physicians don’t think they’ll be ready in time for the ICD-10 deadline on Oct. 1, 2015. “Without a dedicated and aggressive effort to complete implementation activities in the time remaining, this lack of readiness may lead to disruption in claims processing,” said Jim Daley, WEDI ICD-10 Workgroup co-chair, in a WEDI release.

HHS created WEDI in 1991 to improve health information exchange efforts. The group carries weight, as the HIPAA regulations designated WEDI as an HHS adviser in 1996.

WEDI is urging HHS to take the following actions to make the ICD-10 transition more manageable for the healthcare industry:

  • HHS must be fully open in providing information about the ICD-10 preparedness of state Medicaid agencies
  • The ICD-10 ombudsman promised by CMS should be appointed before the ICD-10 implementation date
  • ICD-10 go-live support should rely on the WEDI and CMS implementation support program
  • HHS should contact providers to see if they need assistance complying with current local coverage determination codes, which cipher healthcare services eligible for Medicare benefits

In 2013, WEDI and CMS announced the establishment of the ICD-10 Implementation Success Initiative. Other participating organizations include AHIMA, American Health Information Management Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. Those organizations teamed up to help the entire healthcare industry move from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes.

Just as CMS and WEDI are united by ICD-10, so are CMS and the American Medical Association (AMA). CMS officially agreed to the AMA’s request to appoint an ICD-10 ombudsman in a recent announcement of an ICD-10-focused partnership between the two groups. The AMA and CMS declared they will cooperate in performing onsite coding training, offering online webinars and publishing other educational material.