Healthcare News & Insights

ICD-10 deadline moved: Feds finalize one-year delay

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has officially moved the deadline for ICD-10 compliance to October 2014. 

Though some advocates were hoping for a longer delay before the new code set takes effect — or questioning whether the country should even move to ICD-10 at all — HHS has made final a proposed rule to push back the ICD-10 deadline one year to October 1, 2014.

The delay was first proposed in April, after an earlier rule had pushed the date to October 1, 2013. After the proposal was announced, some groups, including the American Medical Association (AMA), pushed for the feds to delay ICD-10 even further. According to the AMA, even with the delayed deadline, the ICD-10 transition will be too big a financial burden for providers, especially as many of them are focused on deploying electronic health records, in response to another government initiative.

Some observers have even wondered if the best option would be to skip ICD-10 entirely and move directly to ICD-11.

However, other groups have argued against a lengthy ICD-10 delay, because it could convince organizations to pause their transitions, which may end up making the process even more costly. In fact, most healthcare professionals believe a delay longer than one year would just convince organizations to pause their ICD-10 transitions and end up spending even more, according to one recent survey.

In that sense, the final rule is good news for healthcare providers, because now they know when they need to switch to ICD-10 and can get back to working on the transition. Many organizations likely put the project on hold while waiting to see if the date would be changed again.

HHS said in a statement that the switch to ICD-10 codes will, in the long run, help healthcare organizations save money and “improve the quality of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes.”

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