April 25, 2012

ICD-10 Selling Coding Systems

Are those coders in the basement about to see their pink slips? Maybe so, within the coming two years, as roughly half of inpatient providers say they expect to buy automated coding solutions over the next one to two years.

According to a new report released by KLAS Research, many healthcare providers are seriously considering purchases of inpatient computer-assisted coding (CAC) systems during the coming 24 months, despite the ICD-10 deadline delay to a recently proposed date of October 1, 2014.

Providers say that encoder/grouper integration is particularly important. 73% of providers reported that they are considering 3M, which currently holds a 50% market share and three quarters of the inpatient encoder market.  OptumInsight and Dolbey have also generated strong interest among providers.

Interest in CAC is being driven by concerns about the productivity impact that ICD-10 will have on providers' practices in both outpatient and inpatient settings. The transition to ICD-10 cranks up the number of diagnostic codes to 68,000 from 13,000 in the ICD-9 code set. Codes for inpatient procedures will shoot from 11,000 to 87,000 codes.

April 24, 2012

Hurry Up, Sunshine

Senators Chuck Grassly (R-IA) and Herb Kohl (D-WI), authors of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, are pushing for CMS to get its final implementation rule out the door. Once the rule is published, the process of collecting data on financial transactions between doctors and industry vendors can start. Six months after CMS missed the October 1, 2011 statutory deadline, the senators expressed their displeasure with the agency's slow movement.

After missing the implementation date, CMS again missed a March 31, 2012 start date for the 1,150+ drug, device, biologics and medical supplies manufacturers to report all "transfers of value" given to physicians and teaching hospitals.

The Sunshine Act, as it is nicknamed, is designed to bring transparency to physician interactions with revenue sources that may unduly influence decisions regarding patient care. While such sources as manufacturers' payments for research are vital to healthcare technology development, patients should know when (and what for) large sums of money are attached to their doctors' treatment decisions.

Proposed implementation, published December 19, is available online.