2 top ICD-10 developments in 2014

By: Michael MacLaren |
Published: January 5, 2015
Author at Assurance Health Care Financial Services

Extending the ICD-10 transition another 12 months has been significant — estimated in the millions. It’s really hard to think of 2014 as anything but the year that Congress delayedICD-10 implementation. In March, they approved the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.” It was a quick bill that:

• Prevented a steep decrease in Medicare payments scheduled for March 31.
• Delayed scheduled Medicaid cuts to hospitals serving low-income patients.
• Changed the ICD-10 implementation date to Oct. 1, 2015.

No one has publicly admitted to slipping in the following paragraph: “SEC. 212. DELAY IN TRANSITION FROM ICD–9 TO ICD–10 19 CODE SETS
The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD–10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.”

Strangely enough, the American Medical Association (AMA) leadership called for the defeat of the that delayed ICD-10 implementation one year. PAMA delayed a 24 percent Medicare cut to physicians for the 17th time. The AMA wanted the sustainable growth rate formula that calls for cuts to be repealed completely. Otherwise, someone is going to have to lobby for another delay in the spring. And the AMA argued that the delay would prevent progress meant to strengthen the Medicare program without mentioning the ICD-10 delay. Extending the ICD-10 transition another 12 months has been significant — estimated in the millions. And it makes us wonder if ICD-10 coding will ever see the light of day in the United States. Hands down. It’s the most significant development in the ICD-10 transition.

I’m not suggesting that a Twitter hashtag comes close. But the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) social media campaign is part of an effort that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) couldn’t do alone.

Mostly because they lost a lot a credibility in the Healthcare.gov rollout. Insisting that Oct. 1, 2014, is the last and final ICD-10 deadline right before Congress pushed it back a year didn’t help either.

So the healthcare information technology industry started some significant ICD-10 advocacy work. And that was almost as important as the ICD-10 delay itself.

Now AHIMA is part of a strong effort — more than writing letters — to educate representatives and senators why ICD-10 matters. It’s positioning the code set above the flaming water ski jokes and bureaucratic burden.

Is it enough to push ICD-10 implementation to Oct. 1, 2015? That’s what I’m writing next week.