ICD-10 Delayed!

HHS announces a one-year proposed delay in the compliance date for use of ICD-10 codes.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the final rule for Health Plan ID and a change in the compliance deadline for ICD-10 codes, which classify diseases and health problems. The announcement extends the ICD-10 deadline from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014, providing the healthcare industry with an additional year to achieve compliance.

These code sets, known as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes, will include codes for new procedures and diagnoses that improve the quality of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes.

In a written summary of the final rule, HHS wrote: “We believe the change in the compliance date for ICD-10 gives covered healthcare providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition by all covered entities. By allowing more time to prepare, covered entities may be able to avoid costly obstacles that would otherwise emerge while in production.”

The rule also establishes a unique health plan identifier (HPID). HHS said the identifier—along with other administrative simplification regulations included in the healthcare reform law—will save the healthcare system an estimated $6 billion over the next ten years.

“These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients,” Secretary Sebelius said in a press release.

These rules will go into effect on November 5, 2012.

Extension Not an Excuse to Fall Behind
The extension doesn’t leave a lot of time for healthcare organizations to meet the mandate.

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) recently conducted a survey regarding ICD-10 implementation. The WEDI ICD-10 readiness survey indicated that the industry had fallen behind recommended timeframes for completion of key milestones such as impact assessments. It also indicated that many organizations were not on track to meet the October 2013 compliance date.

“Due to the wide scope of ICD-10 and its significant financial implications, it is important that all impacted organizations are prepared on the implementation date,” said Devin Jopp, WEDI president and CEO. “The additional time allowed by this 12-month delay should not be considered as a reason to slow or delay work efforts.”

By Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman


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