HHS calls ICD-10 time­out

IT groups crit­i­cize post­pone­ment of ICD-10 dead­line

Modern Healthcare - - FRONT PAGE - Joseph Conn

It was an off-week for fed­eral reg­u­la­tory con­sis­tency. CMS act­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor Marilyn Taven­ner and HHS Sec­re­tary Kath­leen Se­be­lius threw un­der the bus their own Oct. 1, 2013 dead­line for the U.S. health­care in­dus­try’s mas­sive and fed­er­ally man­dated con­ver­sion to the ICD-10 di­ag­nos­tic and pro­ce­dural codes.

No new date was given for the ICD-10 roll­out. There were even mixed mes­sages from the CMS and HHS about how a new ICD-10 com­pli­ance dead­line would be set, whether by rule-mak­ing or some other process

Nei­ther the CMS nor HHS re­sponded to re­quests for in­for­ma­tion about the process or the time­line. HHS ini­tially set the 2013 dead­line back in Jan­uary 2009, us­ing its au­thor­ity un­der the Health In­sur­ance Porta­bil­ity and Ac­count­abil­ity Act of 1996. The man­date to re­place the old and in­ad­e­quate ICD-9 codes in cur­rent use with the sig­nif­i­cantly larger, more com­plex but also ag­ing ICD-10 code sets ap­plies to all HIPAA “cov­ered en­ti­ties,” in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals, physi­cians, health plans and claims clear­ing­houses.

The change left many in the health­care in­dus­try scratch­ing their heads, while oth­ers her­alded the re­set as a wise move.

Since Novem­ber, the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion has been call­ing on fed­eral of­fi­cials to halt the ICD-10 roll­out. The AMA “ap­pre­ci­ates Sec­re­tary Se­be­lius’ swift re­sponse,” AMA Pres­i­dent Dr. Peter Carmel said in a state­ment. Carmel said the “tim­ing of the ICD-10 tran­si­tion could not be worse” be­cause of the si­mul­ta­ne­ous de­mands of im­ple­ment­ing elec­tronic health records and com­ply­ing with var­i­ous IT and qual­ity pro­grams.

Hos­pi­tals like­wise wel­comed the breath­ing room. Chip Kahn, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tals, the for-profit hospi­tal trade group, called the de­lay “a con­struc­tive re­sponse. “The hos­pi­tals that I rep­re­sent are mov­ing for­ward rapidly with im­ple­men­ta­tion, but it’s chal­leng­ing,” Kahn said.

Not all in­dus­try groups back an ICD-10 de­lay. Dr. Ed­ward Shortliffe, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal In­for­mat­ics As­so­ci­a­tion, said in an e-mailed state­ment that the AMIA “sup­ports pro­ceed­ing with the planned ICD-10 im­ple­men­ta­tion.”

And, ac­cord­ing to Dan Rode, vice pres­i­dent for ad­vo­cacy and pol­icy at the Amer­i­can Health In­for­ma­tion Man­age­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, the gov­ern­ment is set­ting a bad ex­am­ple by pulling the plug on 2013. “If they keep avoid­ing these due dates, then we’ve got real is­sues, and that’s been a his­tory in HIPAA, hav­ing the dates pushed back,” Rode said. “For those who aren’t in­ter­ested and lag­ging be­hind, they say: Well, gee, we’ll just get an ex­ten­sion; but for oth­ers, they’ll say: How can I de­velop a strate­gic plan if we don’t have this due date?”

Late last week the Health­care In­for­ma­tion and Man­age­ment Sys­tems So­ci­ety is­sued a state­ment call­ing for most health­care en­ti­ties to stay on track to im­ple­ment ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013. The or­ga­ni­za­tion said 90% of about 300

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