CMS Will “Re-examine the Pace” of ICD-10 Implementation

BREAKING: HHS announces intent to delay ICD-10 compliance. Read story.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services appears willing to reconsider the ICD-10 implementation timeline.

Speaking at the American Medical Association’s National Advocacy Conference today, CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner told attendees that CMS will “re-examine the pace” of implementing ICD-10.

Talking with reporters afterwards, Tavenner offered no specifics on what CMS would consider or when it would do so. She did say that CMS would make an announcement in the coming days.

CMS will reexamine the timeline with an eye to lessening the burden on physicians, Tavenner told attendees. AMA recently sent letters to Congress calling for a halt to the ICD-10 implementation and the selection of a new code set other than ICD-10 to replace ICD-9.

The wider industry also has cited the high workload in responding to current federal initiatives, which include meaningful use.

AHIMA: Do Not Wait on the Review

AHIMA is expressing to CMS its concern over the confusion today’s statement will cause. The association is recommending that CMS make clear the industry should not halt its work on the ICD-10 conversion while CMS re-evaluates the timeline.

In a published statement, Dan Rode, AHIMA vice president for advocacy and policy, warned the announcement sends “mixed signals that many in the healthcare community will interpret as a reason for delay. This concerns AHIMA and our constituents as any delay in the transition preparation for ICD-10 will both increase actual costs and may diminish the value of other Health and Human Services (HHS) programs, including Meaningful Use.”

“We need to keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of ICD-10 implementation,” according to Lynne Thomas Gordon, CEO of AHIMA, also quoted in the statement. “There are tremendous long-term benefits that will come from the use of a 21st Century classification system, such as ICD-10, to both healthcare providers and patients. AHIMA urges all in the healthcare community to continue with their ICD-10 planning efforts.”

AHIMA will provide comments to the CMS administrator highlighting its areas of concern, including concerns that relate to the good-faith investments in the transition already made by healthcare providers, health plans, public health and quality organizations, and HHS itself.


  1. I am following the news on CMS decision to “re-examine” the ICD-10 roll out timeline. I understand at this time it something that is just under review and no decisions have been made, but I would like to add something to this discussion and see if this something that has already been proposed or considered. I am for ICD-10 implementation, as I truly feel it will empower us with data and a more accurate depiction of health care today. ICD-9 is outdated and lacks the true ability to tell the story completely (i.e. limit reflection of the procedures done today versus in years before, and a true insight in the disease processes and newly identified diseases of today).

    Has it been proposed to do a phase-out/phase-in approach? Many fear what they do not know and completely understand. It is hard to completely stop one thing today and start something totally different tomorrow. A “phase” approach gets your feet wet, sort of speak; and gives the provider community an opportunity to embrace and see the benefits of advancing to a more robust system.

    I see where some have commented (HCPro article), in the event we are delayed, we ought to just wait for ICD-11. This is ludicrous, and there has to be an alternative that keeps us advancing in the right the direction.

    I just felt compelled to put this out there, and see if this is even a remote possibility to keep on track and not completely come to halt. I truly feel if we delay now, it will be a never ending cycle of delays.

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  2. The healthcare community has committed huge resources to train our coders in ICD-10. They plan to hire additional staff to allow for the transition period.
    If ICD-10 is delayed, we will need to be retrained and staff may be layed off until they are actually needed.
    I think the AMA has had as much time to prepare as HIM. They just need to step up their time line to comply with the 2013 changes.

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  3. It is truly important to keep in mind that this delay is not imminent. Reading AHIMA’s comment based on CMS’s press release, AHIMA chose it words carefully as only certain healthcare providers (aka physicians) may be delayed. The time, effort and cost that all providers, vendors to include CMS to this point is so immense that if a delay occurs it will be days; not years and possibly only for the physicians. Hospitals MUST continue along their I10 transition path and not get derailed by rule making, comment periods and final posting as valuable months (up to 6 months) will be lost with the same result October 1st, 2013. Also, just a key reminder in this quagmire – ICD-9-CM is frozen and no longer will be updated!!

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  4. Why not just jump to ICD-11? Or start over and KISS (kept it simple sonny). The big insurance companies, drug companies and other governmental person have made a monster out of a mole hill. None of them what the heck is going on or CARE. Monies are all that drive this dog & pony show.

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  5. I personally feel the AMA wasn’t paying close enough attention that this was finally coming to fruition, then starting digging their heels in because yes, it will cost to convert. Software conversions, staff training, etc. It saddens me that this is yet another example of how different organizations in the US look out for #1 and not at over all benefits to the change. This updated coding system allows for more specificity in the diagnosis codes and cause of injury, which means 3rd party payors won’t have to kick back so many claims for answers; is much more flexible in the ability to add new codes for new diagnoses/procedures to create data to better treat patients, and would again give us the ability to compare our data internationally with those nations on the same coding system…designed by the World Health Organization. Sometimes I am truly disappointed by the US and it’s inability to work as a team. I remember in 1984 when I was in college studying for my RHIT (well ART at the time)
    , that “In 1990 ICD 10 will be here”. Well…it was…but not in the US. 22 years later, we still can’t get this accomplished? So much time, effort, planning, money has been devoted to this. It can’t be derailed any longer.

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  6. A step backward, truly. Why is it so hard for the US health care industry as a whole to realize that the ONLY way forward is to start the transition over to ICD 10 sooner rather than later?

    You can’t expect an outdated, static coding system to keep working for ever in the 21st century.

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