With ICD-10 implementation now in full force, questions about its negative impact on patient care are emerging. Technical difficulties, coding errors, and payment delays resulting from ICD-10 are now beginning to divert much needed focus away from patients. A SERMO poll found that 86% of 200 surveyed physicians confirm that ICD-10 implementation is negatively impacting patient care. Of the physicians surveyed, 14% said they were having no trouble with it. This is likely due to the fact that larger healthcare practices and insurers have bigger coding and billing staff with more time to guarantee accurate coding.
It is critical at this juncture on the ICD-10 road that physicians and healthcare professionals dig deep into what is and is not working as well as what might work better in the future. Meanwhile, payer sites were inaccessible merely because “they were updating,” and other technical difficulties caused a local Medicare carrier to close for an entire week.
Another surveyed physician says referrals for their largest payer were unable to be completed because the online referral system continues to reject ICD-10 codes. Another physician said, “I expect the [third] parties and government to reduce our reimbursements using [ICD-10] and citing quality measures (which they will set to maximize their own profits).” While implications from the SERMO poll are concerning, it still might be too early to adequately assess the full impact of ICD-10.
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