Health Information Management

News: Partial freeze of code changes announced

CDI Strategies, October 28, 2010

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At the September 15, 2010 ICD-9-CM Coordination & Maintenance Committee Meeting, the committee implemented a partial freeze for both ICD-9-CM codes and ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codes prior to the start of ICD-10 on October 1, 2013.

The partial freeze will occur as follows:

  • The last regular annual update to both ICD-9 and ICD-10 code sets will be made on October 1, 2011.
  • On October 1, 2012 there will be only limited code updates to both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10 code sets to capture new technology and new diseases.
  • There will be no updates to ICD-9-CM on October 1, 2013 as the system will no longer be a HIPAA standard.
  • On October 1, 2014 regular updates to ICD-10 will begin.
The ICD-9 Coordination & Maintenance Committee will continue to meet twice a year during the freeze. At these meetings the public may comment on whether or not requests for new diagnosis and procedure codes should be created based on the need to capture new technology or disease. Any code requests that do not meet the criteria will be evaluated for implementation within ICD-10 on or after October 1, 2014, once the partial freeze is ended.
To view the transcript of the September meeting, go to:  From there, select the September 15-16, 2010 meeting transcript in the download section, and then from the ZIP files, select the 091510_Morning_Transcript file. This section appears on page four of the 78-page proceeding.
Some believe that the freeze will negatively affect hospital value-based purchasing programs, however. CMS held a special forum Tuesday, October 26 to discuss aspects of Section 3001 of the Affordable Care Act regarding analysis of a Medicare spending per beneficiary efficiency measurements and additional use by CMS of the use the Hospital Compare website.

The concern is that if the code set is frozen and not adjusted for specificity, then during the intervening time it may not accurately reflect severity of illness, physician profiles, physician value-based purchasing, medical home, and accountable care organization risk-adjustment programs.
Editor’s note: Read more about this topic in JustCoding News: Inpatient.

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