The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) will delay the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline for ICD-10 implementation, the department said this morning in a brief statement. This announcement follows an earlier pledge from HHS to review the ICD-10 implementation timeline.
HHS had been under pressure from the American Medical Association, which had expressed “serious concerns” with the pace of ICD-10 implementation. A 2008 proposed rule set an Oct. 1, 2011 deadline for adopting ICD-10 codes, which were first approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the early 1990s, but in 2009 the deadline was pushed back to 2013.
It has been clear for some time now that many providers aren’t ready for ICD-10 implementation, though until recently HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services were adamant about keeping the Oct. 1, 2013 deadline. So was the American Health Information Managers Association, which finds itself in direct conflict with the AMA and views any ICD-10 implementation delay as further diminishing federal efforts to implement health information technology.
It is unclear when HHS will announce the new ICD-10 compliance deadline, nor is it clear how much of — or to whom — an extension will be granted. Some industry experts have suggested that, for federal planning purposes, an extension would have to be at least one year (as opposed to three or six months) and could last two years or more. In such a scenario, the same experts wonder if the United States would be better off skipping ICD-10 altogether and instead make the transition straight to ICD-11, which the WHO expects to finish by 2015.
The U.S. currently uses a clinical modification of ICD-9 called ICD-9-CM to process Medicare and Medicaid claims. The WHO approved ICD-9 in 1979, and it is considered by many in the health care industry to be outdated.