Poll shows frustration over ICD-10 delay

By: Bernie Monegain, Editor for HealthcareITNews.com

The American Health Information Management Association’s 2014 ICD-10 and Computer Assisted Coding Summit April 22-23 in the nation’s capital featured the latest industry reaction to the ICD-10 delay.

Summit participants had the chance to share opinions in a real-time poll conducted via text that addressed a variety of key questions on ICD-10 and next steps. The poll found 88 percent of respondents were disappointed by the ICD-10 delay. In addition:

  • 42 percent of respondents said their organization has spent more than $1 million on implementation
  • 91 percent of respondents said ICD-10 should not go into effect in stages
  • 50 percent of respondents would – if allowed – be interested in voluntary reporting of ICD-10 codes beginning on Oct. 1 2014
  • 54 percent of respondents did not want the partial code set freeze lifted

“This year’s summit provided a valuable opportunity to assemble many of the key players in the ICD-10 transition and take the pulse of the industry,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon. “As a long-time champion of ICD-10, AHIMA continues to advocate that the Department of Health and Human Services announce Oct. 1, 2015, as the new implementation date. AHIMA stands ready to help the industry with the transition, and as an example, we plan to develop and disseminate a paper including policy informing recommendations as well as documents describing best practices to continue our work assisting the industry with implementation and training.”

In the first public comment since the delay by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Denise Buenning, acting deputy director of the Office of E-Health Standards, said she expects HHS to announce a new implementation date in the near future and reaffirmed CMS’ commitment to ICD-10.

“We appreciated AHIMA’s response,” Buenning said. “Your national organization and leadership represented you well; I applaud all of you. … Everyone perks up when the industry speaks up. CMS certainly does. I know how difficult it is; we’re continuing to push this forward.”

Buenning said the extra time provided by the delay eliminates any excuses not to be able to transition to ICD-10.

On Tuesday at the opening session, “What Now? Industry Reaction to Latest ICD-10 Delay,” Gloryanne Bryant, urged HIM professionals to use the extra time to bring more people into the HIM profession, especially coding. Bryant is the national director of coding quality, education, systems and support, national revenue cycle, Kaiser Foundation Health Plans Inc. & Hospitals.

“We need more health data analytics, (and) opportunities for growth and advancement,” she said. “We’ve got a lot of great skills and knowledge about health information. It’s important that (HIM professionals) make their talents known and voices heard. In addition, continuing with education and training is key.”

At a later session, Godwin Odia, senior health insurance specialists/states Medicaid programs, ICD-10 implementation lead, Division of State Systems, Data and Systems Group Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that HIM professionals have a critical role to play in the transition.

“I have been encouraging HIM to take the lead,” he said. “You are the content expert.”

Odia noted that despite speculation to the contrary, Medicaid is ready for the ICD-10 transition.

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