ICD-10 Proposed Delay Is Freaking Out Healthcare Industry

In theory, one might think that a delay in the deadline for implementing ICD-10 coding would be a relief for providers. After all, the shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10 is a monumental task which will burn through much money and staff time. As for me, I might have assumed that when HHS announced a delay in ICD-10 compliance deadlines, people would  be relieved.

In reality, though, this seems to be rotten news. According to Edifecs, which polled industry figures, more than half said a two-year delay could be “potentially catastrophic” to their plans for moving up to ICD-10. Other respondents said even a one-year delay would be expensive for them with many saying each year’s delay could mean an 11 percent to 24 percent cost increase.

According to my colleague John Lynn, the ICD-10 shift isn’t coming out of the blue. In his piece for EMR Thoughts, he notes that the announcement came shortly after HHS met with the AMA, which is apparently in favor of delaying the ICD-10 deadline and are a major reason for the delay. HIMSS asked HHS to keep the existing deadlines in place, John notes.

In theory, the industry could just hold its breath until ICD-11 is released, which as John reports is due out in 2014. But that, sadly, is unlikely to happen, as too many organizations have spent big bucks and lots of time preparing.

As John’s article points out, there’d be plenty of benefits from rolling out ICD-11 directly, as ICD-10 is already aging and lacks the sophisticated tools ICD-11 offers. The truth is, though, that from a political standpoint we’re unlikely to see providers change gears again. Delay or no, ICD-10 seems to be barrelling down on us whether we like it or not.

About the author

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger

Anne Zieger is a healthcare journalist who has written about the industry for 30 years. Her work has appeared in all of the leading healthcare industry publications, and she's served as editor in chief of several healthcare B2B sites.