The Job Killing ICD-10 Delay Program

I thought I’d offer a little of my own spin in the headline since those in DC only like to read spin. Unfortunately, I don’t think those in DC will really hear the message and I believe the ICD-10 delay will be passed. I still think that most of congress is voting on the SGR part of the bill and not the ICD-10 delay, but this vote will support the many doctors who don’t want ICD-10 implemented at all ever. This is a strong and large group of doctors that congress does care about.

However, I can’t help but highlight the thousands of coders that will be affected as well. In the link above I quoted a coder who’d paid for the ICD-10 course and now it’s wasted money (and it’s not like coders have a lot of excess income).

Add to that story this story from an educator who switched their educational program to ICD-10. If the ICD-10 delay happens, then all of those newly trained ICD-10 professionals won’t be able to find a job. Read more below from Kelly Fast, MS, RHIA, CMT:

I am a program director of an HIT program in candidacy with CAHIIM. The program began in the summer of 2012. We anticipated we would have graduates this year, the year of the implementation. We went with the assurances from HHS that there would not be another delay. All of our coding curriculum has been taught with ICD-10 (with a nod to ICD-9 from a historical perspective). We now have graduates. As we are all aware, it is so difficult for new graduates to secure coding positions. This delay, if it happens, will definitely not be a competitive advantage for our students! We went with the implementation date sticking and the training in ICD-10 being a positive thing for our students in the workplace. It is so disappointing that this is even being considered.

From the perspective of how many students this will affect nationally — there are over 17,000 students in CAHIIM accredited health information programs.

I think of our students — our job is to prepare them as best we can for the workplace! Are our students going to be given a break on their student loans until October of 2015? I think not. Are our students going to have their loans forgiven when the skill they have gone into debt to learn is a distant memory to them, due to no fault of their own? Again, I think not.

To all students — keep practicing, practicing! At some point the new classification system will be implemented and you will have the opportunity to shine!

So far, AHIMA is keeping the implementation date for the RHIT exam with ICD-10 the same. That is one silver lining for the students. But, yes, this looming delay will have far, far reaching effects. We will be evaluated as a program as to how many of our students pass the exam. So thank you AHIMA for so far not pushing out the date of the switch of the exam from 9 to 10 for the RHIT. Also, we will be evaluated on how many of our students are able to become employed in healthcare. That one will definitely not be helped by any delay.

Also, we had scheduled an area ICD-10 training for next month on our campus. That will be postponed if the Senate passes this bill intact. Just the time and effort in getting all of the leg work done for that has been a lot, and it will all have to be repeated. When you are coordinating large gatherings of people, it isn’t as simple as reworking the dates. When I think about multiplying that effort for training rescheduling over and over for organizations all across the country…wow.

Here’s another personal story that illustrates the personal impact of the ICD-10 delay:

I’d like to chime in as a student about to graduate from an HIT associate degree program. Thank you for all your posts. Like all of you I am shocked by this turn of events. I am a single mom who enrolled in this program after my divorce which pulled the rug from under me and put my kids and I out of our home and, after being a stay at home mom, left me with no income. I’ve worked hard, sacrificed, and have been excited to enter this field that would be a perfect fit for me and would allow me to get back on my feet. I am only trained in ICD10 since the college I attend stopped teaching 9 because of the switch that was supposed to happen this year. I was planning on getting certified and entering the workforce this fall. I need to start earning an income or we could be out on the street. Where will this leave people like me? Congress apparently could care less how they mess with peoples lives. I too have contacted my senator. I pray they will hear us.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid the Congress looks more at the macro and political impact of this bill instead of the personal impact this will have on many people. I hear we’ll have to wait until Monday for the Senate to vote on the bill.

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.