Surveys disagree on cost of ICD-10 implementation for small practices

Despite some estimates predicting ICD-10 implementation costs in small practices will be upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, a new whitepaper asserts implementation costs in small practices will not average more than $8,167.

The whitepaper, based on the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management's survey of its members, analyzed the costs of implementation to practices employing six or fewer providers, according to the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association. The association asked practice managers to list costs they have already incurred or plan to incur related to ICD-10 implementation, including manuals, training, bill conversion, software system upgrades and testing.

Former implementation cost estimates from the American Medical Association ranged between $56,639 and $226,105 for small practices, according to a February 2014 news release from the AMA. PAHCOM attributed the difference to new educational and training materials being available, thus lowering costs.

The high cost estimates have spurred debate over the ICD-10 mandate, set to go into effect Oct. 1, 2015. The AMA sent a letter to the HHS to request a reconsideration of the mandate, calling it an "unfunded" mandate, saying the costs incurred will have to come from the pockets of the hospitals and practices. However, AHIMA and the American Hospital Association have both urged implementation by Oct. 1.

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