Health Information Management

News: One-year delay proposed for ICD-10 implementation, industry comments sought

CDI Strategies, April 12, 2012

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HHS released a proposed rule Monday, April 9, regarding a potential one-year delay of the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS. If finalized, ICD-10 would become effective October 1, 2014.

“It is disheartening and encouraging in many respects. Disheartening for the facilities and practices who spent the money to prepare for the October 1, 2013 deadline, but encouraging for those same people who are now ahead of the game. They can breathe a little easier,” says ACDIS Advisory Board member James S. Kennedy, MD, CCS, managing director of FTI Consulting in Brentwood, Tenn.
“The best way to prepare for ICD-10 implementation continues [to be] to first to practice ICD-9-CM correctly and then negotiate the differences in ICD-10,” he says.
“Many provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the [2013], compliance date. The proposed change [to 2014] would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition to these new code sets,” according to an April 9 press release.
The proposed rule explains that three main issues emerged in recent months regarding the previous October 1, 2013 compliance date, leading HHS to reconsider the deadline:
  1. The transition to Version 5010 did not go as effectively as expected
  2. Providers were concerned about a lack of resources due to competing statutory initiatives
  3. Several surveys and polls showed a lack of readiness for the transition
The proposed rule, if approved, would give facilities another year to prepare their infrastructure and to ensure that the documentation and coding education and coordination is ready to adapt to ICD-10 specificity requirements, Kennedy says.
“While we considered a number of alternatives for the delay…we believe a one-year delay would provide sufficient time for small providers and small hospitals to become ICD-10 compliant and would be the least financially burdensome to those who had planned to be compliant on October 1, 2013,” the proposed rule states, estimating that a one-year delay would add an estimated 10%-30% to the total cost of implementation for those entities that have already spent or budgeted for the transition.
In a statement, the AMA President Peter W. Carmel, MD, said “The American Medical Association and physicians across the nation appreciate that CMS has proposed delaying the ICD-10 implementation date to October 1, 2014. The postponement is the first of many steps that regulators need to take to reduce the number of costly, time-consuming regulatory burdens that physicians are shouldering.”
“This is what I expected,” says former ACDIS Advisory Board member Shannon McCall, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, CPC, CEMC, CPC-I, CCDS, director of HIM and coding at HCPro, Inc., in Danvers, Mass. “But I am happy to hear that they didn’t seem to consider bypassing ICD-10 and going right to ICD-11. This goes to show that they do see the value in the system.”
She believes this delay will give providers the necessary time to implement and handle the costs associated with the change. “And now that we know the deadline, there is no excuse,” she says. “At this point, we have a date in sight again and we shouldn’t waste away the time that we have. We were given the extra time; use it wisely.”
“This gives everyone an opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath,” says Cheryl Ericson, MS, RN, CDI Education Director for HCPro, Inc. “Organizations should maintain their current course of progress so that coders become fluent in ICD-10. This just gives everyone extra time for improvement and gives us greater opportunities to recognize weaknesses in documentation,” she says.
To comment on the proposed rule, visit Comments are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. The rule is due to publish in the April 17 edition of the Federal Register.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in a special news bulletin sent to CDI Strategies subscribers and ACDIS members.

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