Author Name Jennifer Bresnick
In an email update, CMS has finally broken its silence on the ICD-10 delay with a message that will provide some relief for providers still questioning the future of the new code set: the department intends to release guidance officially mandating October 1, 2015 as the new implementation date.
“On April 1, 2014, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) (Pub. L. No. 113-93) was enacted, which said that the Secretary may not adopt ICD-10 prior to October 1, 2015,” the short news update says. “Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015. The rule will also require HIPAA covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through September 30, 2015.”
While many stakeholders suspected that CMS would indeed set the new date for October 1, the confirmation is the first real communication from CMS, whose silence has sparked a whirlwind of speculation and a great deal of frustration. Providers and professional organizations alike have expressed disappointment and trepidation over the surprise delay, snuck into HR 4302 with no discussion or debate.
In the weeks since Congress enacted the ICD-10 delay, CMS has had to recalibrate its timelines, adjust its guidance, set a new direction, and deal with the undoubtedly significant sting of having the rug pulled out from under them. Up until the very moment President Obama signed the bill, CMS was pushing hard for industry-wide compliance by 2014.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of the new announcement is the language that will require healthcare entities to continue using ICD-9 all the way up until ICD-10 comes into effect. Many providers have expressed a wish to voluntarily move to ICD-10 before the mandated date in order to make best use of their resources and reduce the burden on organizations that prepared for 2014 in good faith. If providers are not allowed to move forward according to the new plans formed during CMS’s silent period, the department may be facing even more discontent than they are at the moment.
The pushback is also expected to be a financial blow to providers who have already allocated resources to the transition, but may give vendors more opportunities to prepare their products and ensure a more successful switch.
“In 2012, CMS estimated the cost to the health care industry of a one year delay to be as much as $6.6 billion, or approximately 30% of the $22 billion that CMS estimated had been invested or budgeted for ICD-10 implementation,” the Coalition for ICD-10 wrote in a letter to CMS earlier in April, urging Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to announce the new compliance date.
“A 30% cost increase due to a one-year delay is consistent with the experience and observations of the coalition members. Continued uncertainty relative to the ICD-10 implementation date will add significant demands on limited resources and will measurably increase the overall cost of completing the transition.”