Physicians Prepare for Surprising Cost of ICD-10

Physician Cost of ICD-10

As the date to switch to the ICD-10 diagnostic coding system gets closer, medical practices have one question: How much is implementation going to cost?

Nachimson Advisors, LLC was retained by several healthcare organizations to answer that very question. After crunching the numbers, the final cost of implementing ICD-10 appears unsettling.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in January that ICD-10 coding wouldn’t be mandated until October 2013, it makes sense for practices to start planning now to make the transition less painful.

Completely changing coding systems is no small task for the healthcare industry, but switching from approximately 13,000 codes to roughly 70,000 codes is reason for concern.

The complexity of the new code implementation is best illustrated by the cost estimates reported by the study and shown below.

Small Practice Cost
(3 physicians, 2 staff)
Staff Training & Education: $2,405
Business-Process Analysis: $6,900
Superbill Changes: $2,985
IT System Upgrades: $7,500
Cash Flow Disruption: $19,500
Increased Documentation: $44,000
Total: $83,290

Medium Practice Cost
(10 providers, 1 full-time coder, 6 staff)
Staff Training & Education: $4,745
Business-Process Analysis: $12,000
Superbill Changes: $9,950
IT System Upgrades: $15,000
Cash Flow Disruption: $65,000
Increased Documentation: $178,500
Total: $285,195

Large Practice Cost
(100 providers, 64 coding staff — 10 full-time coders, 54 medical records staff)
Staff Training & Education: $46,280
Business-Process Analysis: $48,000
Superbill Changes: $99,500
IT System Upgrades: $100,000
Cash Flow Disruption: $650,000
Increased Documentation: $1,785,000
Total: $2,728,780

The study was conducted by Nachimson Advisors on behalf of: American Academy of Dermatology, American Academy of Professional Coders, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Clinical Laboratory Association, American College of Physicians, American Medical Association, American Optometric Association, American Physical Therapy Association, American Society of Anesthesiology, and the Medical Group Management Association.

Get more info about the ICD-10 cost impact study.

What are you doing to prepare for the ICD-10 switch? Post below and let us know.