Stakeholders Blast ICD-10 Delay

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President Barack Obama signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 into law Tuesday, which, in addition to shielding physicians from a 24 percent reimbursement cut under Medicare's sustainable growth formula and delaying the implementation of the two-midnight rule, also delays the nation's switch to ICD-10 coding by at least a year.

Now, HHS cannot require healthcare providers to switch to ICD-10 until at least Oct. 1, 2015, a year later than the previous deadline, according to the text of the new law.

The delay was immediately denounced by many industry stakeholders, most of whom expressed frustration their efforts to be ready by Oct. 1, 2014, were for naught.

"We understand the considerable hours, resources and money CHIME members and their organizations have spent preparing for the transition," said College of Healthcare Information Management Executives CEO Russ Branzell in a statement. "This pause in momentum discredits the significant work our industry has spent training staff, conducting testing and converting systems; not to mention the hold on improving care quality and accuracy, advancing clinical reporting and research and patient safety outcomes."  

Vendors, including NextGen Healthcare and athenahealth, derided the delay as irresponsible and unfair to vendors with ICD-10-ready products. "We view this latest delay of the ICD-10 implementation deadline as yet another unfortunate example of the government's tendency to cater to the technological laggards who are keeping health IT, and the care delivery system, mired in the 20th century," said Dan Haley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at athenahealth, in a statement. "Repeated government concessions only reinforce those behaviors, giving laggard vendors reason to believe that policy deadlines are not real."

Industry organizations like the American Health Information Management Association are now turning to CMS to provide clarity on the specifics of the delay. "On behalf of our more than 72,000 members who have prepared for ICD-10 in good faith, AHIMA will seek immediate clarification on a number of technical issues such as the exact length of the delay," said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon in a press statement.

More Articles on ICD-10 Delay:

Senate Passes Bill Delaying SGR Cuts, Two-Midnight Rule
Senate Approves ICD-10 Delay
Can ICD-10 Be Optional In 2014?

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