CMS: No Further Delays in ICD-10-CM/PCS Implementation

Article by Chris Dimick, Editor-in-Chief at the Journal of AHIMA. This article was originally published on the Journal of AHIMA website on February 27, 2013 and is republished here with permission.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will maintain their commitment to the current ICD-10-CM/PCS compliance date of October 1, 2014, according to a letter sent to AHIMA President Kathleen A. Frawley.

The letter was sent in response to AHIMA’s call for CMS to stand firm on its ICD-10 implementation date after more than 80 physician groups represented by the American Medical Association called on CMS in January to delay or abandon the ICD-10 conversion.

Robert Tagalicod, director of CMS’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services, wrote that CMS agrees with AHIMA’s recommendation to continue progress toward ICD-10 implementation.

“Based on your feedback and other stakeholder input, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services believes that the one-year extension offers physicians adequate time to train their coders, complete system changeovers, and conduct testing,” Tagalicod wrote. “Furthermore, we have found that many private and public sector health plans, hospitals and hospital systems, and large physician practices are far along in their ICD-10 implementation.”

CMS’ Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner formally declined the AMA’s ICD-10 request in a letter sent February 6, stating a halt of implementation “would be costly, burdensome, and would eliminate the impending benefits” of ICD-10, according to an American Academy of Family Physicians blog post.

The AMA said that implementing the new code set would create additional and unnecessary burdens on physicians at a time when they are already inundated with other healthcare system changes.

Tagalicod wrote that CMS believes ICD-10 is a key part of ongoing healthcare reform efforts, and a “cornerstone” of several programs working to modernize and improve the healthcare system and lower costs.

“Integrated programs such as Version 5010, the ICD-10 code-set itself, the Medicare & Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, and the Physician Quality Reporting System are all aimed at accomplishing these outcomes,” he wrote. “Together they move America’s health care system towards better coordinated care through greater interoperability and ease of transmitting electronic data; better quality measurement and reporting of clinical outcomes data; and lower costs achieved through operational efficiencies.”

AHIMA has launched a state-level ICD-10 Advocacy Initiative to assist the physician community with ICD-10 education and implementation issues. AHIMA’s component state associations will be reaching out to physicians, physician groups, and organizations to offer assistance and access to resources to insure compliance by October 1, 2014.

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