Could ICD-10 have as big a financial impact as the mortgage crisis? Yes. Here's why.

Michael F. Arrigo | Government Health IT | October 17, 2011

U.S. National Healthcare Expenditures (NHE) are $2.7 trillion in 20111 and are forecasted to grow 34% in five years. This multi-trillion dollar economy will shift its reimbursement paradigm to ICD-102 in under 24 months. ICD-10 will introduce opportunities and risks to hospitals and health plans that may be equivalent to the $148.2 billion to $500 billion in losses3 to the U.S. economy in the mortgage crisis. This is because ICD-10 introduces favorable and unfavorable reimbursement results.

Yet, ICD-10 was obscure outside the health care industry until just months ago. Only recently did mainstream business media start covering ICD-104, described by The Wall Street Journal as health care’s ‘Y2K5 problem’. It is ironic that Y2K, the mortgage crisis, and ICD-10 have similarities. Cynics criticized Y2K as an expensive non-event. As I’ll point out later, even if this were true, Y2K produced other important benefits. The mortgage crisis was about ethical failures in leadership, transparency, and poorly documented quality that led to higher than expected risk...