The final date for the U.S. healthcare system switching over to ICD-10 looks to be Oct. 1, 2015, if CMS’s signaling it will write that into an interim final rule proposal this week. The industry’s reaction to the delay is ambivalent, as reflected in two recent surveys.
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The American Health Information Management association recently held an ICD-10 summit, offering participants a chance to voice their opinions about the coding update. Nearly all (88%) of respondents to a poll taken at the event indicated they were “disappointed” by the delay of ICD-10 and 90% agreed that ICD-10 should have one compliance date, rather than rolling out at separate times for different provider types. Exactly 50% of those surveyed said they would be interested — if given the option — to voluntarily begin reporting their ICD-10 codes on Oct. 1, 2014.
“During the coming year, we recommend that the industry keep its momentum going, continuing to prepare by strengthening clinical documentation improvement programs, working with vendors on transition readiness, training coders and other stakeholders, and proceeding with dual coding,” AHIMA said in an official statement, having been in lock-step with CMS’s “stay the course” philosophy on ICD-10 before Congress went against the Obama administration’s grain with the delay, a bill the president ultimately signed.
The ICD-10 delay was added onto H.R. 4302 — a bill mainly focused on preventing Medicare reimbursement from decreasing by 24%. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 31 and signed into law by the President on April 1. Before the bill had been passed by either branch of the government, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) CIO John Halamka, M.D., expressed mixed feelings to SearchHealthIT about a delay to ICD-10. He projected that extending ICD-10 preparations would be a financial burden, but would allow BIDMC to more thoroughly implement the new codes.
A survey performed by medical billing and practice management software company NueMD represented a more positive outlook on the delay than that of the responses gathered by AHIMA. NueMD’s survey — completed before the delay of ICD-10 — found that more than 55% of respondents thought ICD-10 should have been postponed or that the transition shouldn’t happen at all. More than half (58%) also said they are “significantly” or “highly” concerned about the impact of a future transition to ICD-10. Specifically, how claims processing will be affected by the ICD-10 changeover is a high area of concern for 68% of respondents.