HIPAA 5010: A Real Economic Challenge for Medical PracticesFebruary 9, 2012
The Medical Group Management Association has sent a very powerful message on February 1, 2012 to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services to take immediate action to help alleviate payment disruptions that have occurred due to the transition to HIPAA 5010.
The letter written by Susan Turney MD, MGMA President and CEO, to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, expressed specific challenges their member practice administrators are dealing with resulting from the mandated transition to HIPAA Version 5010. The MGMA is 22,000 members strong leading 13,200 practice organizations nationwide providing more than 40 percent of the healthcare services delivered in the United States. There should be no question that the MGMA has a very strong voice.
The issues the MGMA raised in the letter to Secretary Sebelius that should be of great concern to every American include:
Delayed revenue, operational difficulties, a reduced ability to treat patients, staff layoffs, and even the prospect of closing of medical practices.
In this current economic landscape, our healthcare system simply can not afford to experience any significant level of financial stress. The MGMA is urging HHS to delay enforcement of HIPAA 5010 until June 30, 2012. Hopefully HHS will seriously consider the recommended action the MGMA has proposed because there is just too much at stake.
From a health IT perspective, the successful transition to HIPAA 5010 requires practices to carefully plan what is clearly a major system conversion. Practices must focus on insuring that they have the right internal resources or health IT services vendor to guide them through the transition. While the delay being asked for by the MGMA will improve the cash flow of practices in the short term, practices will need to take the necessary steps to not only successfully transition to HIPAA 5010 but to make sure their health IT strategy is also aligned with ICD-10 compliance. Medical practices not taking immediate proactive steps today will lead to larger cash flow issues come October 1, 2013, the deadline for ICD-10 compliance.
A direct link to the MGMA letter to Secretary Sebelius can be found in this article: MGMA to HHS: HIPAA 5010 is ‘choking cash flow’, written by Chris Anderson, Senior Editor, Healthcare Payer News.