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ICD-10 Implementation Getting Costlier, AMA Study Shows

[MMA News Now, Feb. 20, 2014] A new study released by the AMA shows that costs to implement the ICD-10 code set by Oct. 1 may turn out to be nearly three times more than previously estimated.

The costs associated with implementation include training, vendor and software upgrades, testing and payment disruption.

A similar study in 2008 estimated these costs to be $2.7 million for a typical large practice; now the costs could be as much as $8 million. For a small practice, implementation costs were estimated at around $83,000 in 2008; now they could be more than $225,000.  

“The markedly higher implementation costs for ICD-10 place a crushing burden on physicians, straining vital resources needed to invest in new health care delivery models and well-developed technology that promotes care coordination with real value to patients,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, in a news release.

“Continuing to compel physicians to adopt this new coding structure threatens to disrupt innovations by diverting resources away from areas that are expected to help lower costs and improve the quality of care,” Hoven said.

The AMA study found that current estimates are higher “due to the need for testing, and the potential for increased payment disruption. A major element in cost is clearly the vendor/software upgrade category.”

The study notes specialty practices will see the highest ICD-10 implementation costs, especially in productivity losses and payment disruptions, because of their higher revenues and per hour rates.

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