As the Obama administration continues its top secret effort to build federal insurance exchanges in about 34 states while 16 states are doing it on their own, that continues to be the big question.
HHS is using IT consulting firm CGI for much of the work on the exchanges and the federal data hub. CGI has their plate full since they are not only working on the federal exchange but also doing work for the state exchanges in at least Colorado, Vermont, and Hawaii.
Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee held an oversight hearing. The Obama guy in charge of exchange development testified before them. I thought it was notable that it was the Democrats who expressed the greatest concern, and frustration, over senators not getting a clear idea for just where the administration is toward the goal of launching the new health insurance exchanges on October 1.
At HIMSS, I met with many healthcare CIOs as a part of CHIME focus groups to discuss their readiness for ICD-10. One area we explored was the impact of the delay. Most were a bit frustrated by the delay because they had committed the resources and money to an ICD-10 transition plan which was well underway. In some instances CIOs estimated they had expended at least 50 percent of the effort required to meet the compliance deadline. In fact, in one of the focus groups, 10 out of 12 participating CIOs said the delay will be more harmful than helpful. I heard two main reasons for this position:
1. Cost: Hospitals have already committed the resources and budget to transition to ICD-10, and now they will have to continue that effort for a longer period of time.
2. Engagement: It’s harder to engage staff around the importance of clinical documentation and coder education when the media is saying “delay, delay, delay” – it makes it difficult for leaders to convince providers and other stakeholders that it’s a critical priority.
A survey conducted by Edifecs validates this sentiment – 90 percent of healthcare professionals believe that the deadline should not be moved more than a year. Fifty-six percent said that a two-year delay would be “potentially catastrophic.”
However, for smaller physician practices, the delay likely has the opposite impact – more help than harm. Many of these practices were struggling to understand the impact of ICD-10 and find the resources to prepare for the October 2013 deadline. A delay gives them more time to put a plan in place, improve clinical documentation, and ensure they can get reimbursed for services.