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5 Reasons Why Most Doctors Don’t Believe ICD-10-CM Will Succeed

ICD-10-CM has been shrouded in a gloom of uncertainty even as the October 01, 2015 deadline looms inevitable. With a number of postponements in the past, the now inevitable switch-over to ICD-10 from ICD-9 has many a medical professional in anxiety as the reality of things begins to sink in. ICD-10 has come with a fair share of complexities and these complexities are perhaps what’s behind the challenges doctors are facing as they race to comply by the cut-off date. But to these complexities have been added myths about ICD-10 that have many health practitioners doubting that ICD-10 will succeed when finally implemented. Here we’ll explore five of the reasons, misleading ones at that, why many doctors and healthcare administrators believe ICD-10 will not succeed.


With an almost fivefold increase in the number of codes, plus the addition of two additional digits to each code, the perceived complexity of the new coding system is hardly overstated. This has proven to be fertile ground for the naysayers to sow seeds of doubt as to whether the new system will actually work. Their sentiments go something like, “With so many codes to report, how will anyone be able to comply, leave alone do so by the deadline set?” The basis for this argument is however unfounded, as the CMS so cleverly put it; the new codes are like an expanded dictionary, the inclusion of more words does not necessarily make the English language more complex, but it does make it more specific in conveying what it is you actually what to say. This myth is therefore debunked and the complexity explained away.

There’ll be another Extension

This is another reason why many doctors are presuming that ICD-10 will not work. Because the implementation of ICD-10 has been postponed in the past, after pressure from various industry stakeholders, there’s a general assumption this deadline will also be pushed to ensure all doctors are on board and ready to make the switch. This is, however, another unfounded myth, as borne out by the CMS website, yet again: “There will be no further extensions to the October 01, 2015 deadline so all Eligible Professionals must ensure they have switched over by that data to avoid risking non-compliance.” In as much as it would be great to have another extension, the CMS has chosen to bite the bullet and move to transition, whether or not everyone else is comfortable with the decision.

There’s No Real Repercussions for Not Switching Over

This is another non-truth that has been gaining traction over the last couple of months. It comes as a form of denial of the inevitable and those who have believed it are under the impression that the CMS will somehow find a way to accommodate those who will not have switched over by the cutoff date. Whereas this is a possibility and the CMS wouldn’t want a situation where a huge number of doctors are being penalized and therefore unable to practice, there is currently no foundation for this argument.

The CMS Should Cover the Cost Implications

Although the government has in the past incentivized some programs through some form of compensation, it’s clear that when it comes to ICD-10, the government through the CMS has opted to sit this one out. This means all EPs will have to shoulder the cost of transitioning themselves. The cost structure involves known elements and yet-unknown elements so as a result, doctors and healthcare administrators will have to buckle down to cover these costs as they arise.

Payers Will Not Be Ready

Payer readiness is another hot potato subject that many in the healthcare fraternity feel will spell doom for the implementation of ICD-10. With many payers still working through the kinks of their systems, there’s a general feeling that even though doctors may be ready, payers may not be ready and this could create a significant bottleneck in ensuring the success of the transition. The CMS is currently running tests with major payers to establish their readiness for the switch and has reported that its tests have so far been successful. This, however, remains a legitimate concern for EPs and only time will tell whether payers will actually be ready once the deadline matures.
These and other “myths” have many a doctor wondering, wishing and hoping that ICD-10 somehow falls through and ICD-9 remains but this mind frame will only work at hindering proper preparations and steps to achieving compliance once the deadline reaches. The best approach would be to work towards compliance and if anything does transpire to hinder the implementation of ICD-10, then it would find you ready nonetheless. 

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