Industry Stakeholders Raise Concerns About ICD-10 Uncertainty
June 12, 2014 in News
Health care industry stakeholders are frustrated with the uncertainty surrounding the ICD-10 implementation deadline and delayed end-to-end testing, according to testimony Tuesday at a hearing of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics standards subcommittee, EHR Intelligence reports (Murphy, EHR Intelligence, 6/11).
U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.
In April, President Obama signed into law legislation (HR 4302) that pushes back the ICD-10 compliance date until at least October 2015.
In May, CMS confirmed that HHS plans to soon release an interim final rule that will set the new ICD-10 compliance deadline as Oct. 1, 2015 (iHealthBeat, 6/6).
During the hearing, federal officials heard from various industry stakeholders including:
- Sue Bowman, senior director of coding policy and compliance at the American Health Information Management Association (Goth, Health Data Management, 6/11);
- Rhonda Buckholtz, vice president of ICD-10 training and education at the American Academy of Professional Coders (EHR Intelligence, 6/11);
- Humana’s Sidney Hebert, speaking on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 6/11);
- Holly Louie, chair of the ICD-10 CM Committee of the Healthcare Billing and Management Association (Health Data Management, 6/11); and
- John Powers, chief administrative information officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (FierceHealthIT, 6/11).
In her testimony, Louie said the industry is facing a “credibility problem.” She said, “More and more of our clients, our physicians, our practices don’t believe ICD-10 is going to happen at all.” She added, “We must know if 2015 is really the date. We need an absolute go or no-go” (EHR Intelligence, 6/11).
Louie also noted that the delay presents stakeholders with the opportunity to conduct robust end-to-end testing. She called CMS’ decision to delay such testing “extremely disappointing,” adding that it has prompted some commercial payers to delay testing with trading partners (Health Data Management, 6/11).
Buckholtz echoed those concerns and called on CMS to provide straightforward, clear guidance on the implementation deadline. She said, “There are so many mixed messages out there in the marketplace, and we’ve got to really start to take a look at what the real facts are” (EHR Intelligence, 6/11).
Bowman’s testimony also warned against the repercussions of uncertainty surrounding the ICD-10 deadline. She said, “Any ICD-10 delay is disruptive and costly for health care delivery innovation, payment reform, public health and health care spending” (Health Data Management, 6/11).
Meanwhile, Powers called on CMS to focus on simplifying administrative tasks for the ICD-10 implementation, noting that his facility was relieved to be provided with additional time.
However, Hebert urged stakeholders not to rely solely on CMS to ensure the industry is prepared for the new 2015 compliance deadline. He said the industry should work together to focus on:
- ICD-10 testing;
- Issues surrounding implementation;
- Ways to support implementers;
- Provider readiness; and
- Vendor readiness (FierceHealthIT, 6/11).