ICD-10 Delay Not Beneficial to Industry

| Posted On Mar 28, 2014 | By:

This week, Congress voted on a bill to delay physician Medicare reimbursement cuts under the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for another year. But the bill also included language that will delay implementation of ICD-10, a new diagnostic code set that will be used by all healthcare organizations across the country, by one year to October 1, 2015. This news has been met with mixed reactions from the healthcare industry. While all providers, including Atrius Health, would probably prefer that ICD-10 disappear completely, a delay has different implications.

While Congress likely had the best of intentions and we recognize that some providers will not be ready, at Atrius Health, we do not believe that delaying implementation is the best approach. Organizations have already dedicated significant resources to prepare for the implementation so a delay in the last 6 months before the current due date provides no relief. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that a 1 year delay could cost between $1 billion and $6.6 billion. According to the Association for Health Information Management, this is approximately 10-30% of what has already been invested by providers, payers, vendors and academic programs. Organizations across the country have already made significant strides to prepare for the change and this delay only hinders the forward momentum of those organizations. At Atrius Health, we are assuming that ICD-10 will happen and are continuing to move forward with preparation for the switch as stopping implementation now and then re-starting the effort later would be inefficient and expensive.

The Senate is expected to vote on this bill next week.

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