CMS Administrator to "Re-Examine" ICD-10 Deadline

Marilyn Tavenner, acting CMS administrator, told a conference of the American Medical Association today that CMS may "re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," according to a report from The Hill.

All HIPAA-covered healthcare providers must transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013. Although Ms. Tavenner did not say if there would be an actual delay, she said CMS would create new regulations over the coming days.

"There's concern that folks can't get their work done around [adoption of health information technology], their work done around ICD-10 implementation and be ready for [the health law's insurance] exchange," Ms. Tavenner said in the report. "So we're trying to listen to that and be responsive."

The AMA, which sent letters to House Speaker John Boehner and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the past few weeks, has been the fiercest advocate of an ICD-10 delay. In the letter to Secretary Sebelius, AMA CEO James Madara, MD, said physicians, hospitals and payors should be gathered to "assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9 within a reasonable timeframe."

Several hospital and healthcare technology organizations have urged hospitals and health systems to continue technological preparations for ICD-10. Wendy Whittington, MD, CMO of Anthelio Healthcare Solutions, said in a statement that although the conversion to ICD-10 will be both costly and time-consuming, a potential change in the deadline will make things worse.

"Many healthcare systems have already invested a lot of time and money into the process in order to meet the deadline," Dr. Whittington said. "In order to do thoughtful strategic planning in healthcare, we need to make commitments and stick to them. ICD-9 has been obsolete for many years now. By further delaying, we are missing an opportunity to find synergy in our [electronic health record] implementation processes."

Related Articles on ICD-10:

8 Basic Steps for ICD-10 Implementation in Surgery Centers

Coding for Surgery Center GI Procedures in 2012: Q&A With Shelly Cronin of AAPC

AMA Urges John Boehner to Halt ICD-10 Implementation

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