ICD-10 One Month After Launch

Well, October 1st has come and gone.  We are all still here, and most importantly, it looks like we are all still in business!

As I reflect on the whole ICD-10 journey, several key points stand out as important learning:

  1. We talked about this, A LOT – More than any other transition that I can remember in my career, ICD-10 consumed us.  We planned, we conferenced, we consulted and we webinared – to death it seems.  But perhaps that was just what we needed to do to be prepared.  Just like with Y2K, the very thing that we feared the most failed to happen.  I feel strongly that is because we gave it so much attention.
  2. The Delays Worked – We delayed this implementation twice, and while we were all frustrated at the time, it seems that taking out time had a positive impact on the outcome.  Something this big took a lot of time to sink in.  Most people hate change, and just as many will go out of their way to avoid it.  So it was only natural that we took longer than expected to warm up to the idea of new codes; but once we did things moved pretty quickly.
  3. We Collaborated – Test, test, and test again.  That was the mantra during the summer of 2015.  We tested with every clearinghouse and payer that could find, and each time we went back over the results to be sure our systems were tight.  By the time we sent out our first live billing files we had a pretty good idea what was going to happen.

CMS recently published their own analysis on “the state of things” late last week, and the numbers were rather surprising.  Overall it seems that diagnosis related rejections actual went down slightly after the implementation of ICD-10.  It stands to reason that with so much focus on the topic of coding, things became better.  Overall denials only rose by 0.1%. You can see for yourself by clicking the link above and reading the full report.

Time will tell whether or not these numbers will remain this positive, but for now it all seems to be very good news for payers and providers alike.