CMS' Plan To Reconsider ICD-10 Timeline Draws Mixed Reviews

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Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner's announcement that CMS will consider extending the timeline for ICD-10 implementation has garnered mixed reaction from the health care industry, HealthLeaders Media reports.

At the American Medical Association Advocacy Conference on Tuesday, Tavenner said the agency would "re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10" (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 2/15).

Background

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.

Under the current timeline, health care providers and insurers have until Oct. 1, 2013, to adopt new ICD-10 code sets.

In November 2011, AMA's House of Delegates approved a resolution pledging to block the transition to ICD-10 code sets, saying the health care industry already is overburdened by requirements under the federal health reform law and health IT incentive programs.

Earlier this month, James Madara -- executive vice president and CEO of the American Medical Association -- sent a letter asking HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to stop the federally mandated implementation of the ICD-10 coding system and re-evaluate the timelines associated with several federal health IT initiatives (iHealthBeat, 2/14).

Support for ICD-10 Delay

AMA President-elect Jeremy Lazarus in a statement said AMA appreciates that Tavenner and CMS have "heard our concerns and have recognized the significant challenges and burdens ICD-10 implementation will create" (Fiegl, American Medical News, 2/14).

Chantal Worzala -- director of policy for the American Hospital Association -- said, "AHA appreciates CMS' willingness to reconsider the timeline for ICD-10 implementation." She noted that although AHA is "supportive of the move to ICD-10, ... changes in the environment that have occurred since ICD-10 was mandated for October 2013, including meaningful use, are putting significant pressures on hospitals" (Kraynak, HealthLeaders Media, 2/15).

Pam McNutt -- CIO and senior vice president at Methodist Health System in Dallas -- said it would be ideal to delay ICD-10 implementation until 2015 to "give [accountable care organizations], bundled payment models and meaningful use Stage 2 a chance to gel" (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 2/15).

Concerns, Uncertainties Persist

Dan Rode -- vice president for advocacy and policy at the American Health Information Management Association -- cautioned in a release that Tavenner said CMS would "examine the timeline, not change it."

He said that "government officials are sending mixed signals that many in the health care community will interpret as a reason for delay." However, he warned that "any delay in the transition preparation for ICD-10 will both increase actual costs and may diminish the value of other [HHS] programs, including meaningful use" (Cadet, CMIO, 2/15).

William Bria -- chief medical officer at Shriners Hospital for Children based in Tampa, Fla. -- said he was concerned about whether Tavenner's announcement signaled a temporary delay or a change in direction (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 2/14).

Robert Tennant -- senior policy advisor for government affairs at the Medical Group Management Association -- said that CMS should conduct a pilot test to better understand the effects of ICD-10 implementation before setting a new compliance date (Goedert, Health Data Management, 2/14).


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