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WEDI makes suggestions to HHS leading up to ICD-10 transition

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has more work to do in overseeing the upcoming ICD-10 transition, according to recommendations from the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI). In a statement released on their website and sent to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, WEDI asked HHS to consider further Medicare testing prior to ICD-10’s October 1 go-live date.  WEDI concluded “It will be critical for HHS and WEDI to closely monitor both industry progress and early testing results to better gauge what might occur” when the transition is live.

A recent survey conducted by KPMG LLP reflected that while the majority of healthcare providers have begun their preparations for the ICD-10 changeover, fewer organizations have determined how their business will be affected by the coding update. An even 50% of respondents said they have yet to gauge how updating to the new coding system will affect their cash flow. A greater percentage confirmed they have completed an ICD-10 impact assessment (76%) and 72% acknowledged they had included ICD-10 readiness in their budgets.

WEDI’s letter is the most recent step in their ICD-10 pre-implementation campaign. WEDI and HIMSS jointly conducted a test that revealed the average accuracy of coders working with the ICD-10 codes to be 63%. Simple issues such as mix-ups between number “0” and letter “o” and the number “1” and letter “l” were among the most common mistakes. The study consisted of coding the top 100 to 200 most frequent medical conditions. The switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will see the total number of medical codes rise from 14,000 to 150,000.

ICD-10 was on the agenda at the American Health Information Management Association’s 85th Convention and Exhibit in October. A number of presenters offered advice for organizations prepping for the coding update. Some items on providers’ checklists should be: Prepare to play catch-up if any part of their plan is delayed, hire extra staff to ease the ICD-10 transition and go live with their implementation a few months early so they know what to expect when the actual deadline rolls around.

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