March 11 (The following statement was released by the rating agency)
While the financial impact of the conversion to ICD-10 is expected to be manageable for non-profit hospitals, the potential for revenue cycle disruption may have negative credit reverberations, according to a new Fitch Ratings report.
'It is a challenging time as health care reform moves forward and other pressures, such as sequestration, inpatient volume declines, and reduced reimbursement, are being felt. ICD-10 conversion will bring additional costs at a time when hospital operations are already under pressure,' said Gary Sokolow, Director in the U.S. Public Finance Group.
ICD-10directly affects the central components of hospital reimbursement - coding, billing, and payment. Further complicating the change is the simultaneous transition of government and private payors to ICD-10. While providers and payors have had ample time to prepare for transition to ICD-10 there is a heightened potential for payment delays and disruption. Fitch believes the solid liquidity position of investment-grade rated hospitals and health systems should help weather short-term pressure.
For more information, a special report titled 'Hospital Hot Topic: ICD-10 Conversion' is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at www.fitchratings.com.