Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The myth of manual ICD-10-CM code assignment

In a previous post, we took issue with the final rule mandating the switch to ICD-10-CM, because the rule argues that certain alternatives to ICD-10-CM are impractical because they require computer software to assist in assigning diagnosis codes to patient records.

The implication then is that ICD-10-CM does not require computer software to assist in the assignment of diagnosis codes.  And thus that manual assignment of ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes is substantially more feasible.

Now, a survey reveals that nearly half of healthcare providers plan to buy "computer assisted coding" (CAC) software to help them with the switch to ICD-10-CM.  A previous survey about the switch reveals that only 50% of healthcare providers have even completed an "impact assessment" for their transition to ICD-10-CM.  It seems unlikely that those who are well behind the curve on the switch are the ones considering CAC software, so it is likely that everyone who is far along in the transition is considering it (50% have completed impact assessment and 50% are considering CAC software).

And thus we see that healthcare providers in large numbers disagree with the Department of Health and Human services, that manual coding of ICD-10-CM is feasible.

And thus another argument against alternatives to ICD-10-CM falls even further.

Monday, April 9, 2012

HHS proposes one-year delay to switch

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a one-year delay in the switch to ICD-10-CM.  The compliance date would move from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014.

The move is one of several proposals HHS is making as part of a notice of proposed rule making here (warning: PDF).  Other rules include implementation of a national health insurance plan identifier.

HHS also considered (1) not changing the compliance date, (2) changing the compliance date instead to October 1, 2015, and (3) skipping ICD-10-CM altogether and waiting for ICD-11.