Health Information Management

News: CMS hints at possible delay in ICD-10 implementation deadline

CDI Strategies, February 16, 2012

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CMS acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner indicated that the agency could be considering a revision to the ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation timeline during the American Medical Association (AMA) National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC. Tavenner also indicated that the timeline will be revisited through the rulemaking process.

“Since the AMA announced its intention to try and delay the implementation of ICD-10, this news does not come as a total surprise,” said Lynne Spryszak, RN, CCDS, CPC-A, clinical documentation improvement (CDI) education director for HCPro, Inc., in Danvers, MA. “Providers are expected to comply with meaningful use, transition their practices to the 5010, and implement EHRs in their office. When you consider that providers are also facing a decrease in their reimbursement rates it is no wonder that they feel that their backs are against the wall.”
That said, providers have had plenty of advance notice, Spryszak noted. CMS announced the conversion to ICD-10 in January of 2009, giving them nearly five years to plan.
Until further information becomes available on the exact nature of the delay, providers should continue to push forward with their implementation efforts, according to industry experts.
“Even if they do delay ICD-10, especially for physician practices, this should not deter the infrastructure redevelopment to accommodate ICD-10’s likely implementation in whatever time frame they do implement it, be it six, 12, 18, or 24 months from their previously announced date of October 1, 2013,” said James S. Kennedy, MD, CCS, managing director of FTI Consulting in Brentwood, TN.
The rest of the world is already using ICD-10 and will likely transition to ICD-11 soon while the United States is still using ICD-9. “Change is necessary if we are to develop a robust database of our patients' illnesses and treatments as to better measure outcomes and efficiency. While ICD-10 is not perfect—nothing is—we should not let the need for perfection be the enemy of the common good. Procrastination is not the solution,” Kennedy said.

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