Final ICD-10 coding conversion date set
In a final rule issued Thursday, HHS formally set an Oct. 1, 2015, compliance date for conversion to ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes, incorporating the absolute minimum delay imposed by Congress when it ordered HHS to roll back the conversion date previously set for Oct. 1, 2014.
The congressional mandate in March was inserted in a single sentence slipped into the annual “doc fix” legislation for the Medicare sustainable growth-rate formula.
The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 1.
On April 30, in a proposed rule on the inpatient prospective-payment system, the CMS made several references to an Oct. 1, 2015 start date for ICD-10 and the CMS confirmed in a terse statement the following day that an “interim final rule” would make Oct. 1, 2015, the target date.
The issuance of the ICD-10 compliance deadline in last week’s final rule is significant because it accelerates the rule-making process by a step and in so doing, does not allow for a formal comment period to discuss the date, according to health information technology consultant Stanley Nachimson, an ICD-10 expert.
For longtime ICD-10 boosters, the minimum delay was good news.
“We’re happy it came out,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, CEO of the American Health Information Management Association. “Everybody in healthcare loves to have a deadline. Now, we’ve got a date. Let’s ramp up.”
Many hospitals were well down the road in preparing for ICD-10 when Congress forced postponement of the conversion, Gordon said. Since then, many organizations have still kept up with their ICD-10 preparations, albeit at a slower pace, thanks to the delay, she said.