What You’re Saying about ICD-10, One Month Later

Last month, we wanted to know how the day was going for our physicians and their staff during the rollout of ICD-10, so we asked them. It’s been one month since the official implementation of ICD-10. We checked in with those physicians to see how things were going with the new billing system, keeping in mind the true test of the implementation of ICD-10 may not yet be fully realized for some time:

“A lot of extra work and collections are down 25 percent. Enough is enough. ACA that is anything but affordable, electronic medical records that make a joke of a real history and physical, and now ICD-10.”
— Sen. Larry Stutts, M.D., OB/GYN from Sheffield

“The final grade on the initial implementation of ICD-10 rested with our billing service since as practitioners (two NPs and myself) we felt comfortable with it. This was due in part to having attended the Medical Association’s recent workshop in preparation. The billing service, leading up to the Oct. 1 deadline, worked closely with their third party internet vendor which resulted in a smooth transition to ICD-10 for them as well; very few claims have had to be resubmitted. Due to more time spent documenting but otherwise a fairly uneventful transition our overall grade is: A-. So far our income stream is not affected any.”
— Maartin Wybenga, M.D., family physician from Prattville

“After a few glitches in the first 72 hours, our claims are being paid. If we choose to, we can use ICD-10 to our advantage. We can use the expanded codes to prove the burden of illness in our patients, one of the three criteria we are being judged on by third parties (other being cost and outcomes).”
— Allen Meadows, M.D., allergist from Montgomery

“So far, it has added a couple of hours to my day every day in looking up the new codes. My coding department is further behind than ever, and we have yet to see ANY payments for charges for dates of service 10-1-15 or later. I’m holding my breath, hoping that the payments come quickly. The charges are getting easier to do, but I feel sure it will take me a few more months before I am really comfortable with all of them.”
— Beverly Jordan, M.D., FAAFP, family physician from Enterprise

“Truthfully, ICD-10 is incredibly disappointing. It’s a bureaucratic PoJ (piece of junk). It has more unspecified codes than ever before. About 65 percent of the codes directly crosswalk from ICD-9 so most of the codes offer no further information. The additional codes are often very nonspecific and sometimes even meaningless. Sometimes it is not even for sure what the codes mean. Certainly, another physician looking at it does not know what you mean when the code refers to other disorders of bone metabolism when previously everyone knew what osteopenia meant. It’s incredible that we are now having to do hundreds of additional clicks a day to upgrade the patient’s problem list to codes that offer no further information or even less specific than before. We have been sold a bill of goods that’s not worth the computer screen it is written on. We are suffering by wasting our valuable time and spending enormous amounts of money. Our patients are suffering because we are spending less time with them trying to treat their problems.”
— Steven P. Furr, M.D., former president of the Medical Association and family physician from Jackson

“So far the ICD-10 rollout has been like my one-month wedding anniversary… everyone is still alive. No major problems so far. The transition remains relatively smooth.”
— Jefferson Underwood III, M.D., internist from Montgomery

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