ICD-10 is just around the corner, and sources predict an initial drop in coder productivity of up to 50%.  This will be followed by an ongoing drop in productivity of 10-20% as a result of the inherently greater complexity of coding in ICD-10.

A nationwide shortage of medical coders is increasing the demand on employers to fill these positions. The 2010-2011 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Department of Labor, estimates:

  • 37,700 new coding-related jobs before 2020
  • 21% increase to the medical records and health information field, which is a much higher rate of growth than the average for other occupations (7% greater growth; national average for the same period is 14%)
  • For larger hospital facilities, the transition cost alone to switch to ICD-10 is estimated at up to $5 million per facility
  • In total, the transition to ICD-10 will cost up to $8.2 billion solely in direct implementation costs
  • The costs to renegotiate contracts associated with the transition, for example renegotiating contracts with third-party coding companies, will cost up to an additional $416 million on top of direct implementation costs

Costs to physician practices:

Large practice (100 docs, 64 coding staff [10 full time coders and 54 med records staff]): $2.7 million:

  • Staff education and training: $46,280
  • Business process analysis costs (health plan K’s, coverage determinations, and documentation): $48,000
  • Changes to Superbills: $99,500
  • IT System Changes: $100,000
  • Increased Documentation Costs: $1.76 million
  • Cash Flow Disruption: $650,000

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