Health Information Management

News: Rumors of ICD-10 delay rise again; new cost assessment and other news

CDI Strategies, December 4, 2014

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 Note: ACDIS stands behind AHIMA in its opposition to further ICD-10 delay, and AHIMA has offered ACDIS members access to a free tool to contact their legislator and voice their opinion. Stay tuned for details.

AHIMA is calling for grassroots action supporting the 2015 ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation date after a letter circulated calling for another two-year delay. The request, addressed to the House of Representatives Speaker John A. Boehner, came from the Medical Society of the State of New York in which it stated that:

“The National Physicians’ Council for Healthcare Policy and physicians from innumerable state and national medical organizations and specialty societies have come together to ask for a two-year delay …until October, 2017 in order to allow for physicians to work thru the myriad of new government regulations that face us.”

Texas branch of the American Medical Association (TMA) is advocating for the same two-year delay through its Legislative Action Center, AHIMA reports.

Last year, a one-year delay was tucked into a last minute update to the Sustainable Growth Rate. AHIMA says similar actions may be taken while the current “lame-duck” Congress remains in session.

In a separate article in the Journal of AHIMA, the association called previous ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation cost estimates for physician practices into question. Such estimates ranged from a low of $56,000 to a high of more than $200,000 over the years but in a report co-authored with 3M puts costs at an amazingly low $2,000 to $5,000 for small, three-physician practices. It breaks costs down into the following categories, estimating some items to require days or merely hours to address and some items to be free of cost completely: Training

  • Coding manual
  • Software upgrades
  • Superbill conversion
  • End-to-end testing
  • Productivity declines and increased documentation requirements

To help get smaller providers ready for ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation a newly formed consortium joined Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Humana, and several other payers together, according to a recent article in the ICD-10 Monitor.  The group plans to meet with provider specialty groups such as orthopedics and cardiologists to help identify the codes most frequently submitted and identify any documentation opportunities associated with those codes to make the transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS easier.

The Congressionally mandated ICD-10 delay gave providers an extra year to train and test for the transition, but also delayed implementation progress for a majority of providers, according to the latest Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) ICD-10 readiness survey. Two-thirds of the 324 providers, 87 vendors, and 103 health plans surveyed reported slowing down or putting implementation plans on hold as a result of the delay.

In a letter sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announcing the results, WEDI said that unless all segments of the industry make a dedicated effort to move forward with implementation plans, significant disruption could take place October 1, 2015.

Editor’s Note: Portions of this article originally appeared ICD-10 Trainer blog and

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