BREAKING: Possible ICD-10 Delay … Again – AHIMA Call for Action

UPDATE: It looks like this bill has passed the house with a voice vote. I believe it still needs to be passed by Congress and not be vetoed by the President.

UPDATE 2: Late on 3/31/14, the Senate passed the bill which delays ICD-10 by a vote of 64 – 35. Barring a veto from the President, the bill will go forth and the ICD-10 implementation date will be moved to October 1, 2015. All of the discussion for the bill was around the SGR fix with no conversation around the ICD-10 delay. It’s unlikely that the President would even consider a veto of this bill.

A bill that would adjust the SGR (Sustainable Growth Rate) was introduced to the US House and Senate with a 7 line provision that would effectively delay ICD-10 another year until October 1, 2015. Here’s the section of the bill:

The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD–10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the 13 Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 14 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.

This is really interesting news after the discussion we’ve been having in this Why ICD-10? post. No doubt there are a lot of strong feelings on both sides. Some really want a delay and some really want it to keep going forward. I wonder if Congress will get a mix bag of calls from both sides of the debate which won’t sway them either way.

AHIMA is definitely on the side of those calling for no delay to ICD-10. They sent out the following call to action to their community:

Call Congress Now to Request Removal of Delay Provision

Again, this bill is expected to go to the House floor tomorrow for a vote. AHIMA urges members and other stakeholders to contact their representatives in Congress today and ask them to take the ICD-10 provision out of the SGR bill.

Go to our website now and use your zip code to look up phone numbers for your representatives and senators in Congress.

Phone Script Available Below for Use in Contacting Your Legislator:

“Hello Representative XX/Senator XX, my name is XXX and I am a concerned member in your district, as well as a healthcare professional. I am calling to voice my opposition to the language in the SGR patch that would delay ICD-10 implementation until October, 2015. CMS estimates that a 1 year delay could cost between $1 billion to $6.6 billion. This is approximately 10-30% of what has already been invested by providers, payers, vendors and academic programs in your district. Without ICD-10, the return on investment in EHRs and health data exchange will be greatly diminished. I urge you, Representative XX/ Senator XX to oppose the ICD-10 delay and let Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid know that a delay in ICD-10 will substantially increase total implementation costs in your district as well as delay the positive impact for patient care.”

My question is if they delay ICD-10, will ICD-10 ever happen? A strong argument will then be made to move straight to ICD-11. Although, all of those people who spent hours coding their applications for ICD-10 won’t like that change.

Like many people, I’m somewhere in the middle on this. Some certainty would be the most valuable thing. I’m certain that HHS wants ICD-10 to go forward. That’s certain. However, congress may have different ideas.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.