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More frightening, perhaps, than all those Halloween trick-or-treaters is the fact that there are now only two months left to comply with HIPAA 5010.
To date, industry surveys have been largely one-sided in finding that providers, payers, clearinghouses and software vendors are behind schedule. Few, if any, are expecting a seamless transition, and our reader poll is no different.
[Cover story: ICD-10's ten-year reign of fear.]
To the question ‘Will or won’t you comply with HIPAA 5010 by January 1, 2012?’ 51 percent of the 57 participants answered that they would comply – a discouraging number, but some hope resides in the 23 percent who indicated they “are not certain yet, but plan to” meet the mandate on time. At best, that’s approximately 72 percent of health organizations complying on time.
The remaining answers paint a disconcerting picture: 21 percent confessed to being behind schedule, while 5 percent noted that “it doesn’t matter, our trading partners will be late.”
So what’s the holdup?
Healthcare organizations “know what they need to do," Ana Croxton, vice president of EDI products and services at NextGen, told Government Health IT during an interview. "However, they’re certainly procrastinating. Last (month) I attended some conferences with AMA and HIMSS, and a lot of payers were there, and that’s pretty widespread.”
“I don’t know what they’re waiting for," she added. "It’s not going away – what’s going to happen is there will be a big pileup.”
Indeed, even 75 percent of health entities complying on time is not likely to yield a smooth transition, and expecting otherwise, many in the industry are already calling on CMS to create a contingency plan for the weeks and maybe months following Jan. 1, 2012.
At the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conference last month in Las Vegas, Robert Tennant, the MGMA's senior policy advisor for government affairs, said many physicians are “behind the curve” in terms of HIPAA 5010 preparation, adding that MGMA is leaning on CMS to create a contingency plan should too many be unprepared.
MGMA also released survey findings that lend credence to our own albeit small reader poll. Specifically, only about 75 percent of MGMA respondents have even heard from their practice management software vendors about 5010 updates and a mere 35 percent have begun internal testing, while nearly 20 percent indicated that internal testing with their practice management system vendors has not even been scheduled yet.
Longer-term, the HIPAA 5010 deadline is viewed as something of a reckoning day for ICD-10 in that if the 5010 transition does not go smoothly or, worse, drags on for months, it will only inhibit ICD-10 progress.
Previous reader polls: