Does the ICD-10 implementation delay say more about readiness or politics?

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

It doesn't seem like a good idea to give procrastinators more time to complete their tasks. But that's what seems to be happening at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

First, they delay the enforcement of HIPAA 5010 standards until April 1. Then they announce a willingness to delay ICD-10 implementation. Then they delay the enforcement of HIPAA 5010 until July 1. Won't this encourage procrastination?

At least the American Medical Association (AMA) is advising against any ICD-10 planning delays. It encourages physicians to focus on other initiatives due sooner than Oct. 1, 2013. Take advantage of the extra time to get the ICD-10 transition in place.

Meanwhile, Joseph Conn wonders if the WEDI survey on ICD-10 readiness is a sign that an ICD-10 implementation delay is needed.

Maybe it's the political climate in Washington that's driving CMS to be flexible with its deadlines. Republican leaders are committed to repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Anything that makes it more difficult for physicians to practice medicine is another sound bite for the GOP.  And that can affect President Obama's re-election bid.

If the Obama administration survives November, maybe that will be the end of delayed deadlines.

Enforcement of 5010 standards delayed until July 1

It should be no surprise that American Medical Association (AMA) president Peter Carmel is happy with the second enforcement delay. What’s really interesting is the advice from Robert Tennant, senior policy adviser with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). He says medical practices need to monitor automated claims acknowledgement transaction reports (277CAs) for problems. And if reimbursements are not coming through, “Switch clearinghouses’. ” (

There Are Important Reasons For Delaying Implementation Of The New ICD-10 Coding System

There is a huge argument penned by Christopher Chute, MD, professor of biomedical informatics at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic; Stanley Huff, MD, CMIO of Murray, Utah-based Intermountain Healthcare; James Ferguson, vice president of health information technology strategy and policy for Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente; James Walker, MD, chief health information officer of Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System; and John Halamka, MD, CIO of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Their explanation of how and why ICD-10 implementation needs to be delayed deserves a deeper dive. It’s well researched and goes beyond turtle bites. (Health Affairs)

3 pieces of ICD-10 conversion you should outsource — and 1 you cannot

Mark Williams identifies three aspects of the ICD-10 transition that you can outsource:

  1. Financial modeling
  2. Training
  3. Organizational readiness

But not post-compliance monitoring. You need to stay on top of how things have changed and what work needs to be done yet. (Government Health IT)

ICD-10 Has Impact on Hospitals’ Hiring Practices

A Healthcare strategies survey shows some of the ways that ICD-10 implementation will affect hospital hiring practices:

  • 53.6 percent plan to hire more medical coders
  • 23.2 percent anticipate more medical coder turnover
  • 23.2 percent plan more training programs

(Healthcare Informatics)

What’s New With ICD-10?

Kristi Stanton says the impending delay of ICD-10 implementation shouldn’t change anyone’s transition plans. And nothing changes the need for medical coders. It’s still a good time to get into the profession. (Coder Coach)

Playing the ICD-10 Who, What, Where Game

Steve Sisko has a four-part questionnaire for assessing how much ICD-10 coding will impact your organization. (ICD-10 Impact to Health Care Payers & Providers)

ICD-10: Why Not a Transition Period?

Lorraine Schnelle asks why ICD-10 ready organizations can’t submit claims with ICD-10 codes while letting organizations still in transition use ICD-9 codes. It surprises me how little support there is for that idea. Healthcare payers don’t want to support a dual coding system. And there are probably too few healthcare providers that have planned for it. Considering that it’s doubtful that non-HIPPA-covered entities will be using ICD-10 coding soon, shouldn’t healthcare providers already be planning dual coding? (The BridgeBlog)

Beyond Coding: Will the ICD-10 Deadline Delay Help or Harm?

Heather Haugen finds that hospitals have the most to lose from a delay of ICD-10 implementation while small medical practices have the most to gain. She also makes the case for ICD-10 coding as a needed stepping stone for the ICD-11 code sets. (The Health Care Blog)