The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has mandated the replacement of the ICD-9-CM code sets used by medical coders and billers to report healthcare diagnoses and procedures with ICD-10 codes, effective Oct. 1, 2015. ICD-10 implementation will radically change the way coding is done and will require a significant effort to implement. The time for ICD-10 implementation training is now, and through AAPC, thousands of organizations and individuals have become ICD-10 Implementation Ready.
A NEW DEADLINE APPROACHES
On July 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a rule finalizing October 1, 2015 as the compliance date for healthcare providers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses to implement ICD-10-CM. Although previous deadlines were moved HHS has dubbed further ICD-10 delays a myth, and announced “no plans to extend the compliance date for implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS; therefore, covered entities should plan to complete the steps required to implement ICD-10-CM/PCS on October 1, 2015.”
IMPLEMENTATION IS INEVITABLE
ICD-10-CM implementation is inevitable for several reasons. Most significantly, the current ICD-9-CM code set lacks the needed flexibility to keep up with changes and contains “outdated, obsolete terms that are inconsistent with current medical practice, new technology, and preventive services,” as stated in the July 2014 press release by CMS. ICD-9-CM has not received regular updates in several years, and because ICD-9 received no updates beyond 2013, even non-covered entities are best served by the transition to ICD-10.