Health Information Management

ICD-10 delay leads to uncertainty as industry awaits CMS update

APCs Insider, April 4, 2014

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In a whirlwind week for healthcare, we saw an ICD-10 delay inserted in an unrelated Medicare bill by the House of Representatives, passed by both houses of Congress, and signed into law by President Barack Obama just six months before its scheduled implementation.
While the industry has become accustomed to delays or extensions in healthcare policy and enforcement, this time was supposed to be different. As recently as February, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner reiterated that CMS would not move the implementation date from October 1, 2014. Providers had reason to be wary, considering CMS had delayed the implementation twice already.
To be fair, CMS was increasingly taking provider and vendor concerns into account this time, performing acknowledgement testing in March and scheduling limited end-to-end testing for July. And it's unlikely CMS had any involvement with the delay clause put into HR 4302, though no politician or industry group has taken credit for adding it.
There was a sense of relief for some providers in 2012 when CMS announced a one-year delay that moved the implementation date to October 1, 2014. This time, many providers were either ready for ICD-10 or on the cusp of completing preparations, leaving them in the lurch as we wait for CMS to provide an update on a new implementation date. While many assume that date will be October 1, 2015, the law does not state this. It only says the government cannot implement ICD-10 before that date.
A resounding 80% of the 157 respondents to last week's poll opposed the delay, further proof that providers were ready to move forward. This puts them in an awkward position now, as they lack a clear timeline for when they will be able to use the new software, training, and staff they have acquired in preparation.
While we wait for guidance, we can look back to the previous delay for examples of how to deal with this delay, according to Christine Armstrong, principal, providers, at Deloitte Consulting in Boston.
"Those organizations that paused [during the previous delay] had a hard time rejuvenating momentum and getting them engaged," she said during an April 2 webcast.
Providers can use this time, she said, to consider technology changes and add more time for training and system testing, in order to maintain momentum, keep stakeholders engaged, and avoid getting further behind.
When do you think the ICD-10 implementation date should be? Let us know by voting in the poll below.
When should the ICD-10 implementation date be?
  • October 1, 2014, should be reinstated
  • October 1, 2015
  • October 1, 2016
  • We should wait for ICD-11
Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to vote.


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