Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.
Experience. Integrity. Advocacy.

ICD-10: Will the Transition Really Happen in October 2015?

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) appears to be full steam ahead with ICD-10 implementation, providing the following statement in a May newsletter: “Only claims coded with ICD-10 can be accepted for services provided on or after October 1, 2015.” Not everyone feels the same, however.

Two recent bills have been introduced in Congress that would affect the October implementation. Rep. Diane Black (Tennessee) has introduced H.R. 2247, “Increasing Clarity for Doctors by Transitioning Effectively Now Act (ICD-TEN Act).” If passed into law, this legislation would prevent CMS from denying any claim based on “the use of an unspecified or inaccurate subcode.” Further, the bill would enact an 18-month transition period for “comprehensive end-to-end testing” of the system.

A few weeks earlier, Rep. Ted Poe (Texas) re-introduced H.R. 2126, “Cutting Costly Codes Act,” a bill which would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10. Poe’s bill has been referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means. However, the House Energy and Commerce Committee already debated ICD-10 in a hearing held in February during which many members supported the transition.

While both of these bills seem like long shots for making it through the legislative process in time to delay ICD-10, according to Tom Sullivan, executive editor of HIMSS Media, “the mere mention of adjusting the ICD-10 compliance deadline sparked a real mess, rhetoric-wise, concerning the transition these past couple weeks.” Among those voicing concern, Steven Stack, the incoming president of the American Medical Association, said his organization strongly supports H.R. 2126 and avoiding ICD-10 altogether in favor of waiting for ICD-11. As well, Robert Tenant, director of health information technology at the Medical Group Management Association, announced his support of H.R. 2247, though he said it doesn’t address all his concerns, and the American Health Information Management Association, took a strong stand against both bills.

In the meantime, most industry experts recommend continued diligence in preparing for the transition to ICD-10, including taking advantage of testing opportunities with payers. As well, CMS is hosting an MLN Connects Call “ICD-10: Preparing for Implementation and New ICD-10-PCS Section X” at 1:30 pm ET on Thursday, June 18. The call address strategies and resources to help providers prepare for ICD-10, as well as update participants about national testing, implementation, and preparation strategies. To register, visit MLN Connects® Upcoming Calls.

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Charity Singleton Craig

Charity Singleton Craig is a freelance writer and editor who provides communications and marketing services for CIPROMS. She is responsible for creating, editing, and managing all content, design, and interaction on the company website and social media channels in order to promote CIPROMS as a thought leader in healthcare billing and management.

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