Healthcare News & Insights

ICD-10 deadline may be pushed back, CMS chief says

In recent months, groups representing doctors and healthcare organizations have been urging the feds to delay the 2013 deadline for transitioning to the new set of ICD-10 codes. Now, it looks like those efforts may be paying off. 

Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has hinted that her agency may reevaluate the mandate that providers start using ICD-10 codes by October 1 of next year.

Speaking to a conference of the American Medical Association (AMA) on February 14, Tavenner said, “I’m committing today to work with you to re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10.”

The AMA had previously launched a campaign to delay the ICD-10 transition. The organization argued that most providers simply don’t have the time or resources to finish the implementation in time, particular as other efforts, such as switching to electronic health records, have taken precedent.

Making the change would cost medical practices anywhere from $83,290 to more than $2.7 million, depending on size, according to the AMA.

CMS had previously shown no signs that a delay would be considered. While it’s not yet clear exactly what, if any, changes will be made, Tavenner told reporters after her remark that her agency would formally announce its plan to create new regulations “within the next few days,” The Hill reports.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced a plan to delay the deadline, issuing a statement saying the agency will “reexamine the pace” at which the new codes are implemented.

Before potential changes to the ICD-10 deadline are clarified, organizations have been warned by the AMA not to delay their transitions — if they do, they run the risk of not being ready if the current deadline remains in effect.

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