HHS Proposes ICD-10 Delay to Oct. 1, 2014

The nation will switch to the International Classification of Diseases, version 10 (ICD-10) Oct. 1, 2014 rather than the original Oct. 1, 2013 date, according to a proposed rule. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the proposed regulation April 9, which was published in the Federal Register April 17 with a 30-day comment period.

Anxiously awaited, her announcement quells speculation fueled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) in February when it announced they would delay implementation of the new code set. Many payers, providers, and suppliers are already underway in the transition from the previous code set, ICD-9.  ICD-10-CM, the clinically modified version, will bring greater clarity and specificity with its 68,000 codes, as opposed to the outgoing code set’s 14,000.

This development pushes AAPC’s ICD-10 training conferences and proficiency testing back one year, said Reed Pew, president and CEO. AAPC membership is now preparing for the mandatory implementation, and many members have been preparing for implementation for years. The professional organization is providing training to members and others not only on the profound impact the new code set will have on health care, but on how to best use the code set. AAPC advocates a measured approach to preparing for the code set’s use, focusing right now on preparing the practice and facility for implementation and physicians with necessary documentation improvements, with the focus shifting to the actual codes closer to implementation.

AAPC ICD-10 proficiency exam dates will be moved back one year from Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2015, Pew said.   The online proficiency exam is required of all AAPC credentialed members to demonstrate mastery of the new system. ICD-10 training conferences scheduled in seven locations for the first half of 2013 will be moved to 2014, he added.

Required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as one of a handful of official code sets, ICD-10 must be used by providers, facilities, and payers to document diagnoses and procedures. ICD-10, developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and modified to match local need, has been adopted by most developed countries. The expanded scope of the code set, which adds two more alphanumeric characters and requires precise, comprehensive documentation, has proved controversial since its introduction in the United States in the late 1990’s.

You can find more information about the proposed rule in the HHS Fact Sheets.

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15 Responses to “HHS Proposes ICD-10 Delay to Oct. 1, 2014”

  1. Kristy says:

    This is pathetic! I’m sick of people pushing ICD-10 back further and further! This needs to be put back to October 2013!

  2. Kay says:

    This is not right. My school just switched their programs. They will no longer teach ICD-9 due to the fact that ICD-10 WAS required Oct. 2013. Now, I will be learning ICD-10, graduate in May of 2013 with no job offerings until the following year!!!!

  3. brian says:

    Deal with it.

  4. Marhia says:

    I was truly hoping this would not happen. The more it gets pushed back, the less the physicians I work with want to deal with it. I also wanted to get the test done for my AAPC certification sooner than later. Not happy with this plan!

  5. Marlene Wright says:

    I agree with Brian. I have been in the medical billing business for over 30 years. Changes are common place within our field. You have to be able to adapt to anything at any time. 5010 conversion is a shining example. Your school should have know this was going to happen as it is common place and should not have dropped ICD-9 at all. Even with ICD-10 old claims have to be coded with ICD-9 so it should not be an issue. GOOD LUCK

  6. GLK says:

    This comes as no surprise to me. The enormity of the undertaking is paralyzing for the USA due to it’s sheer size and the resulting unfathomable expense. Couple that with the current state of America’s economic woes and and the entire process is ludicrous at this time and may be unrealistic by 2014 too. By the time the USA adapts, if it adapts at all, ICD-10 will be replaced by ICD-11 which is already in the works. For the rest of the world the adaptation wasn’t nearly as arduous as it is for America. Remember, geographically speaking most European countries could fit inside Texas.

  7. Kim H. says:

    Thanks Brian and Marlene. Taking ICD-9 out of the rising coders ciriculum was not a good choice for an instructor. A coder should be proficient in both. Yes, providers will need education leading up to and after the change but you have to consider the burden being placed on practices with the implentation of EHR’s. I know that there aren’t enough hours in a day for many of us (OIG, RAC’s, MIC’s, etc.). I think this was a wise decision, for once!

  8. MSW says:

    The real issue is that continuing to delay an inevitable process probably won’t help. Those who are not ready now because of procrastination may not be ready then and then what will we do? We are already more than a DECADE behind the rest of the world in implementing this change. I would think that 10 or 11 YEARS is plenty of time for everyone to be ready. The fact that not everyone is ready is due to the continuing enabling of the procrastinators. They should keep the 2013 date and those who are not ready a whole year from now have made their decisions and should face their consequences!

  9. KJH says:

    Does everyone realize that WHO is in the process of developing ICD-11? And that we are the last industrialized nation to adopt ICD-10? The first delay was due to lobbying by the AAPC, if I am remembering correctly. And, it’s not all about the billing. ICD-9-CM is outdated, and running out of room. Let’s archive it and move on to ICD-10-CM. Maybe some of us who are pro-ICD-10 should make some comments during the 30-day period.

  10. Tiffany S says:

    I had gone to a technical school to learn ICD-9 and then a year later I was told if I wanted to be hired I should get an associates degree in HIT because of the vast anatomy I would need to know for ICD-10. After taking those anatomy & pathophysiology courses I was so excited to jump onto ICD-10. I should of known it would just get pushed off again. I don’t disagree with it being an expensive conversion but the benefits far out way the negative. I code for internal medicine and everyday there are codes that are not in ICD-9 and have to code disorders of that organ system. It’s very frustrating because so much detail is left out. When it comes to public health statistics that come from those specailized dx are not being represented properly. We need to move forward with the terminology and technology in our documentation as well as reporting systems.

  11. Marie says:

    Yeah, and coders should learn how to spell too!

  12. Kristi May says:

    I have also been in the medical industry for many years. When the government is invovled it is inevitable that there will be delays. That’s just the way it is.

  13. Heather says:

    Has anyone actually gone to the Federal Register and read the proposed rule? The reasons for the delay are listed there. The biggest reason for delay being that ICD-10 can’t be implemented without 5010. There were a myriad of unforseen issues which delayed the implementation of 5010 and the original rule adopted in Jan 2009 stated unequivocally that the implementation of ICD-10 should take place 2 years after 5010 to allow time for testing. Because of the problems implementing 5010 the compliance date for that was pushed back and consequently so was ICD-10. I know that our practice has experienced claim delays from the difficult implementation of 5010, and will experience more delays when ICD-10 finally does go live. The problem is, if we try to do it now, while payers and venders are still not ready, the financial damage could be catastrophic. I think we are all “pro ICD-10” but I for one am not prepared to lose or delay our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars because a coding school jumped the gun and removed ICD-9 from its curriculum, a disastrously stupid move in my opinion. Use the time wisely. ICD-10 will be here before we know it.

  14. Heather says:

    In addition to 5010, the proposed rule cites two other main reasons for the delay.

    One, providers are already stretched thin with implementing EHRs, e-prescribing and PQRS initiatives, the first two having the potential to be outrageously expensive.

    Two, the state of readiness of the rest of the industry. All entities have to be ready for the implementation to go smoothly, ie not only government and providers, but also venders and private payers must be ready. This undertaking is so enormous it’s difficult even to define it.

    Consider for example, a small practice (one doctor) who is completely ready for ICD-10 but because of claim delays has to take out loans and is ultimately put out of business financially. What happens to the doctor and his/her family? His/her patients?

  15. Becki says:

    I also teach medical coding. To the student who has only learned ICD-10, don’t stress too much. ICD-10 is much a more detailed system. If you can do ICD-10, you should be able to pick up 9 with no problems.

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