The news of ICD-10’s delay until at least October 2015 has prompted a range of responses from vendors and providers, mostly predicated on whether or not they were prepared for a transition to occur later this year. With a delay signed into law and a new deadline yet to be announced, many organizations are lamenting the dollars and hours they have spent to be ready and the money they will now have to invest in waiting out the delay.
There are two paths of action that providers and vendors can take in the minimum 18-month waiting period now facing them: stay ahead of the game, or catch up.
If you’re ready, stay on the ball.
ICD-10’s delay unfortunately has the collateral effect of punishing companies that worked to put new systems in place well ahead of the latest deadline. Many of these companies have invested money into software, employee training, and testing procedures and are reluctant to invest even more to maintain an indefinite ready state.
For these companies, professionals advise to keep forging ahead. Unless there is an announcement down the line that ICD-10 will be skipped entirely, prepared vendors and providers can stay ahead of the curve by continuing to test their updates and train coders to comply with ICD-10. In addition, you can cease dual coding once your ICD-10 accuracy reaches acceptable levels and simply translate ICD-10 codes to the less specific ICD-9 codes for billing until the new standard is officially implemented.
If you’re not ready, get there.
The minimum eighteen-month delay is a significant reprieve for providers, vendors, and payers that are not on track for a timely transition, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For these companies, it is critical to make the best use of the extension they have been given.
Companies that have found ICD-10 preparation to be a heavy financial burden should make and implement a plan to invest in the necessary training and software with enough time to undergo full testing. If companies choose to drag their feet further and squander the added time, it could result in hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars and more delays down the road. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is pushing for CMS to take the lead on end-to-end testing, though CMS has no plans to conduct their own testing until at least July of this year.
If the ICD-10 delay is causing cash flow problems for your company, PRN Funding can help. Our healthcare factoring programs give you immediate access to cash that you can invest in infrastructure, training, and further developing advances such as the ICD-10 transition. Contact us to find out more about healthcare factoring services and to receive an application today.