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Survey of Small Physician Practices Reveals Significantly Lower Cost for ICD-10 Transition

Financial barriers to ICD-10 implementation for the small physician practice are dramatically less than originally projected, according to a new study released by the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). The survey of 276 physician practices of fewer than six providers revealed that total ICD-10 related costs for an entire practice averaged $8,167. Per provider expenditures averaged $3,430.

The survey results were published in the Journal of AHIMA and presented by PAHCOM at a congressional briefing hosted by the Coalition for ICD-10.

"We hear so much conflicting information about the impact of ICD-10 on the small physician practice. Our goal was to bring some clarity to the discussion by surveying our members—office managers who represent hundreds of solo physician and small group physician practices across the United States," says Karen Blanchette, MBA, association director of PAHCOM. "Our members reported actual data on expenses to date and costs still remaining. The PAHCOM survey is the most comprehensive and current data on ICD-10 implementation costs actually being incurred by small physician practices."

Survey respondents were asked to specify the number of providers in the practice, where a provider was defined as a direct care giver including physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. Survey questions on total expenditures for all ICD-10 related activities specifically highlighted the cost of ICD-10 manuals and documentation, ICD-10 training costs, the cost of superbill conversion, software system upgrades, and testing.

As noted in the survey report, the ICD-10 expenditures are similar to those reported in two other recent industry studies and are significantly lower than earlier estimates that predicted ICD-10 implementation costs of $22,560 to $105,506 for small physician practices.

The published study, "Survey of ICD-10 Implementation Costs in Small Physician Offices," was coauthored by Blanchette; Richard Averill, MS, senior vice president of public policy for 3M Health Information Systems; and Susan Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, senior director of coding policy and compliance for AHIMA.

Source: Professional Association of Health Care Office Management