Fi­nal ICD-10 cod­ing con­ver­sion date set

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - —Joseph Conn

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.

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