A delay of Stage 2 of the meaningful use program could give health care providers more time to transition to ICD-10 code sets, according to advisers of the Health IT Policy Committee, Government Health IT reports (Sullivan, Government Health IT, 5/19).
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.
For about 30 years, health care providers have used ICD-9 code sets for electronic health transactions, which can no longer be expanded effectively to include codes for new diseases and procedures.
In August 2008, HHS issued a proposed rule that would have required health care providers to adopt ICD-10 code sets by October 2011. However, after receiving more than 3,000 comments on its proposal, HHS agreed to give health care providers until Oct. 1, 2013, to adopt ICD-10 code sets (iHealthBeat, 1/31).
The Health IT Policy Committee has been considering three options to delay Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, one of which would be to push back the start of Stage 2 until 2014 (iHealthBeat, 5/12).
Paul Tang -- chair of the meaningful use work group and CMIO of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation -- said delaying the start date for the next stage could give health care providers the opportunity to "sync up" their upgrades for ICD-10 with meaningful use.
However, others said that the ICD-10 transition will be challenging regardless of the timeline.
Robert Tennant -- a senior policy adviser at the Medical Group Management Association -- said it is "unlikely that [the] transition will be seamless."
The meaningful use work group is expected to present the Policy Committee with its Stage 2 recommendations in June (Government Health IT, 5/19).