The initial uproar over the Department of Health and Human Services’ ICD-10 delay announcement last month has died down, so much so that the industry seems to have sped through the first four stages of grief and moved on to acceptance.
In the last two weeks, for example, the Health Information and Management Systems Society gave CIOs a list of seven recommendations for what to do with the extra time the ICD-10 delay affords, while five professors and health IT leaders suggested in Health Affairs that adopting ICD-10 “will be disruptive and costly and will offer no material improvement over the current system.” If nothing else, the delay should help CIOs better address the hiring needs that ICD-10 implementation presents — namely, the need for additional coders and trainers.
It’s easy to chastise HHS for announcing the ICD-10 delay, especially since the agency seems to have done so largely at the behest of the American Medical Association and since the rest of the world is preparing for ICD-11. If U.S. health care providers are truly as far behind as they say, though, then a delay of one or two years seems to make sense. After all, the last thing the industry needs is to see physicians go out of business because they are unable to make the transition to ICD-10 codes.