Posted March 19, 2015 by admin in Latest News

AHA Recommends Adhering to ICD-10 Transition Deadline

Modernizing Medicine Showcases Latest Advancements
Modernizing Medicine Showcases Latest Advancements

With the ICD-10 transition deadline staring providers in the face, many are concerned about the potential for delayed payments, technological issues, and tight schedules for training staff. The American Hospital Association (AHA) told the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on March 17 to address greater EHR flexibility.

In order to improve care, AHA recommends allowing providers to have more flexibility when implementing or updating EHR systems. This will certainly prove vital during the ICD-10 transition by the October 1 deadline.

Additionally, AHA stressed that many healthcare providers are finding it difficult to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements despite the steps taken to adopt EHR systems and e-prescribing.

There will need to be greater adaptability under meaningful use regulations to allow healthcare organizations to move toward advanced health information exchange, better quality of care, and reduced costs.

In a statement to the committee during the “America’s Health IT Transformation” hearing, AHA stated that the EHR Incentive Programs have not covered the costs of EHR implementation as effectively as previously hoped.

Even though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided $18 billion in incentives to hospitals and physician practices over the last five years, AHA estimates that the healthcare industry spent about $47 billion annually between 2010 and 2013 on its IT operating budget. This shows that EHR incentives cover approximately 10 percent of costs associated with meeting meaningful use. As such, the financial implications of adopting EHR systems are causing strain on healthcare organizations.

The AHA recommends several measures to take in order to solve some of the issues associated with EHR implementation and the ICD-10 transition. First, hospitals may need more time to attest to Stage 2 Meaningful Use regulations. AHA suggests a 90-day reporting period in 2015 instead of the entire year could lead to a safer implementation and provide more opportunity to develop information-sharing networks.

Next, it is advised for Congress to delete requirements that pose a stipulation on hospitals holding them accountable for responses from others. As long as the technology is in place, the federal government should not expect medical facilities to be accountable for measures out of their control. For instance, Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements stipulate that a certain percentage of patients need to access a patient portal. Based on the recommendation, providers would only need to have the system in place but not ensure that a majority of patients are using it.

“Wait until a sufficient number of hospitals and physicians have met Stage 2 before setting the start date or requirements for Stage 3,” AHA urged the committee.

Additionally, the association encourages sticking to the ICD-10 compliance date and not delaying any further, as it would bring improved billing accuracy and better data for new care models. Running dual systems using both ICD-9 and ICD-10 coding is not operable, as many have already implemented ICD-10 systems and reprogramming the coding sets could prove too costly and lead to more postponements.

Following these recommendations for adapting meaningful use requirements and remaining firm on the ICD-10 transition deadline could be key for the healthcare industry throughout the coming years.


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