Health Information Management

CMS acknowledges ICD-10 delay, promises update 'soon'

APCs Insider, April 18, 2014

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After two weeks of silence that included the resignation of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CMS has finally commented on the Congress-imposed delay of ICD-10.
On the main page for ICD-10 on its website, CMS has now included the following update at the top:
With enactment of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, CMS is examining the implications of the ICD-10 provision and will provide guidance to providers and stakeholders soon. This provision in the statute reads as follows: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as the standard for codes sets under section 1173 (c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 (c)) and section 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.”
Practically, the update offers nothing new for providers left wondering what to do with training and testing timelines that were supposed to be nearing their final stages. Considering it took the agency two weeks from the signing of the bill to merely post a message acknowledging its passing, the promise of guidance “soon” will probably not inspire much confidence in the healthcare community for a quick resolution.
Each day that passes without guidance makes it less likely the agency will find a way to reinstate the October 1, 2014 deadline that providers prefer, according to several polls. CMS did not say in its statement that it would be providing a new implementation date soon, only that it is “examining the implications” of the provision.
This could mean CMS is looking at ways to reinstate the previous deadline However, time is a factor and Congress must still confirm a new secretary of HHS. October 1, 2015, still seems the most likely implementation date.
Despite CMS finally offering a comment on the delay, the landscape still hasn’t changed for providers. Their best course of action, to prevent the problems faced with previous delays, is to keep the momentum by continuing to fine-tune coder and physician training, and making sure systems are ready for ICD-10 implementation—no matter when it is.


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