By Kent Moore
With 5010 implementation effective Jan. 1, 2012, the next major hurdle facing physicians and the rest of the health care system is implementation of International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10). Currently, that is slated to happen on Oct. 1, 2013.
Or is it? In mid-February, officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that a delay in implementation may be forthcoming. First, acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told reporters that the CMS will “re-examine the timeframe” for ICD-10 implementation through a rulemaking process. She did not say when that rulemaking process will begin, and she did not actually say that implementation will be delayed.
Then, the next day, HHS Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius announced that HHS will initiate a process to postpone the date by which certain health care entities have to comply with ICD-10. In a press release, the agency stated, “HHS will announce a new compliance date moving forward.”
So, it appears that a delay in implementation is in the works. However, how much of a delay and to whom it will apply remain unknown. Pending answers to those questions in the form of a posting in the Federal Register, physician practices are probably best advised to continue preparing for implementation on Oct. 1, 2013. Like the Boy Scouts, it is better to be prepared, lest the anticipated delay does not come to fruition.
Kent Moore the manager of health care financing and delivery systems at the American Academy of Family Physicians. This post originally appeared on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012, on Family Practice Management’s Getting Paid blog.