On Tuesday, the American Hospital Association sent a letter to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner expressing support for the proposed one-year delay to the ICD-10 compliance deadline, Becker's Hospital Review reports (Herman, Becker's Hospital Review, 5/16).
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.
In April, HHS announced that it would delay the deadline for complying with ICD-10 standards by one year, to Oct. 1, 2014. HHS said it decided to push back the compliance date partly in response to health care providers' concerns that they would not be able to meet the initial deadline.
The comment period on the new ICD-10 compliance date ends Thursday (iHealthBeat, 5/16).
In its letter, AHA wrote that the extra year for implementing ICD-10 code sets should be used to conduct "extensive testing" on the effectiveness of the coding system.
The organization recommended that CMS move forward with both the Clinical Modification and Procedure Coding System versions at the same time (Becker's Hospital Review, 5/16).
AHA also cited a member survey it conducted in February, which found that most hospital leaders support limiting the ICD-10 delay to one year and finalizing the compliance deadline soon so they can establish their plans for implementing the code sets.
However, AHA expressed concern about rescheduling the new ICD-10 compliance deadline to be the same as the deadline for adopting unique health plan identifiers. The group recommended that federal officials delay the deadline for adopting unique health plan identifiers by one year to make it easier to determine the source of billing problems (AHA News, 5/15).