CMS, CDC call for ICD-9 and ICD-10 code freeze

by Healthcare IT News

The epic healthcare bill passed by the House on Sunday might not make the ICD-10 conversion any easier, but a more simple suggestion by CMS could help.

CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proposed that both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS code sets be frozen two years before the compliance deadline.

What that means: As of October 1, 2011, only limited updates would be instituted into the code sets  so that providers, payers, clearinghouses, and health IT vendors, will not have to simultaneously keep pace with code updates while also reconfiguring their existing systems for ICD-10-CM/PCS.

[Related: Health org's barely bulking up for ICD-10 – yet. Podcast: Understanding the business impacts of HIPAA 5010 and ICD-10.]

The CMS and CDC proposal was made on March 9, according to the Journal of AHIMA, at the ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee meeting, and it follows a similar one that AHIMA made in November when it recommended that updates in 2012 and 2013 be limited to the urgent.

CMS and CDC are currently seeking reactions to a code freeze, and expect to reach a decision sometime this summer.

Tom Sullivan blogs regularly at ICD10 Watch.com.