CMS considers extension of ICD-10 deadline

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Due to ongoing concerns regarding the readiness of many healthcare providers, officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are considering plans to extend the deadline for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10) codebase, reports Information Week.

Speaking at an American Medical Association Advocacy conference in Washington, D.C., Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the CMS, said that the organization was considering extending the deadline. Reasons cited in the decision included existing pressure on healthcare IT professionals due to commitments to meaningful use attestation, increased Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act regulatory compliance issues and the transition to accountable care models.

John Halamka, chief information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, told the news source that ICD-10 “needs to be deferred until 2016 after meaningful use stage three, which will give the time we need to enhance clinical documentation on the front end. The ICD-10 timeline was conceived before meaningful use was proposed. Now, it needs to be rescheduled so that the work on the front end [meaningful use] aligns with the work on the back end [of ICD-10].”

In addition to placing healthcare providers under greater operational pressure, the transition to the new codebase could have significant financial implications. According to American Medical News, officials at the American Medical Association (AMA) recently wrote to Kathleen Sebelius to request that the administrative and financial burdens of ICD-10 on physician practices be assessed.

Under current timeframes, all healthcare providers will have to fully migrate to the new billing code system by October 1, 2013. James Madara, executive vice president of the AMA, believes that overlapping regulatory changes and the pressures of attesting to the CMS’ meaningful use incentive program places hospitals and physicians under too much pressure.

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