HHS Announces Intent to Delay ICD-10 Compliance Date

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen G. Sebelius announced late today that HHS will initiate the rulemaking process to postpone the compliance deadline for implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS.

The statement did not contain any indication of a new deadline or when the rulemaking process would begin.

HHS’s statement follows on remarks yesterday by CMS acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner that CMS would “reexamine the pace” of the ICD-10 implementation.

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UPDATE Feb. 16, 10:05 a.m. CST: HHS replaced the original statement with a slightly reworded version at a new URL, removing the word “rulemaking” and noting instead it will “initiate a process to postpone the date…”


  1. 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 is this quagmire – ICD-9-CM is frozen and no longer will be updated!!

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  2. This is deeply concerning, speaking as one who has invested so much time and money in education. It comes virtually upon the eve of leaving my current position to enter my employer’s coding traineeship (which was I am sure was essentially founded in the idea that ICD-10 implementation would create great demand). While I certainly hope Andrea is right and that AHIMA’s comments to CMS will help in keeping us on track, I worry that more powerful lobbies will prevail. I am left wondering, as I have been over the past 5-6 years, what to do next in order to not only get into this field but to keep a job and stay relevant. It is particularly frustrating when the answers to those questions are not in my control, no matter how hard I work.

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  3. As a coding educator, it is my fervent hope that AHIMA does whatever it takes to ensure that the October 1, 2013 implementation date for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS remains in place and, more importantly, that ICD-9-CM entirely “goes away.”

    Currently, our students are learning ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, CPT, and HCPCS level II. We agreed to teach ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS to our students simultaneously because we were looking to the immediate future and the assurance that ICD-9-CM would be discontinued and ICD-10-CM/PCS would be implemented on October 1, 2013.

    Learning both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS for actual practice (or, equally bad, if the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS is delayed) is a total disservice to the vast number of students in the USA who are the future of coding.

    On behalf of my colleagues and, more importantly, my students, I asking AHIMA to lead the initiative to ensure an October 1, 2013 implementation date for ICD-10-CM/PCS. Educators and many health information professionals are ready. We are prepared to assist anyone who needs to get ready, and that includes physicians and their office staff.

    I realize that the AMA has a powerful lobby in Congress; however, physicians are not the professionals who will directly deal with the impact of a delay. It’s their coding staff and all of the rest of us who would have to cope with that dreadful decision.

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  4. As the Coding Compliane Manager and ICD-10 Project Manager at my facility, I am disheartened to learn that there is a possibility that the implementation of ICD-10 could be delayed.

    Our organization has put enourmous effort into preparing for this implementation ensuring a smooth transition. With all of the time and effort, not to mention expense we have poured into this effort, I can only foresee additional costs tied to this delay.

    We have know of the implementation for quite some time and for those who have burried their heads in the sand ignoring the challenges should be those of who suffer the consequences, not those who have diligently prepared!

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  5. I like so many in the healthcare field am very disappointed in the recent chain of events. As a coder I have worked very hard over the last year to obtain my knowledge for ICD-10 for my CEU requirments in both affiliations I hold credentials for. I have put alot of time and my own money in this venture to better my knowledge. I think it is foolish that this impending delay comes at the 11th hour if you will. I think the industry needs to forge on with ICD-10. This will only get more costly as time goes by, not to mention with this delay some hospitals may decide not to budget for ICD-10 now which will cause even greater hardship on coders. I think the United States needs to get current with the times and resources used by other countries. It will never get any easier. I can only hope that the comment Andrea Clark posted that this will impact Physician’s for a possible delay is what will come out of this. Please CMS listen to the rest of the Health Care World…. AHIMA thank you for your continued support in getting ICD-10 implemented.

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  6. Well, it seems delay and milking the system is still at play–all money driven. There are a lot of credentials floating around, following names, but no one has figured out how to turn those into positive action moving forward. Are there too many different (educated) opinions now that everyone is so educated? Why not ask the people doing the hands on work? Simplification is never a strong point because medicine is so afraid of law suits. Who really has any privacy in this tech driven world?

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  7. I have been in the Health Information Management field for 37 years and was thrilled to see the US finally moving forward toward validation of greater quality of information and greater quality of care within our healthcare delivery system in the US. It’s time!
    If we really looked at our world without the rose tinted lenses, we could easily see that we are wayyyyy behind the rest of the world with our classification system. We also have been dreaming about our lofty position within the overall scheme of things. We have had a provider driven healthcare system and that is not necessarily good. In the last decade or so, the truth has become more evident – with a high rate of medical errors that further caused known harm to our patient population (and often not accurately reported). With the rising trends in healthcare costs being borne by the patients or their 3rd party payors, they have educated themselves about the true quality of care they are “paying for” And many of us that have seen the trends throughout the years, know quite well that ICD10CM/ICD10PCS will certainly put the onus on the providers that they must uphold their positions and document adequately, accurately and timely the care that they are rendering within all the healthcare delivery systems be they acute, longterm, behavioral, specialty inpatient, outpatient, or ambulatory settings. This may be causing some “fight or flight” tendencies on their part; and understandably so. As a AHIMA approved certified ICD10DM/ICD10PCS Trainer, I clearly saw that we could very well have quality coders ready and armed to do their job but lacking the adequate documentation of providers with which to code for ICD10! Yes, the reality is if we had to query the physicians before for ICD9; OMG, what will ICD10 bring us! However, the US cannot lower our standards nor our desire to improve the cost control and efficacy of quality care within our healthcare system. We must bite the bullet once and for all and get it done – that too, timely and cost effectively! My professional opinion was that we needed to fully migrate to one classification system while making the leap – it would be far better for EHR and HIE and the growth of medical science, research and technology… all toward improved quality of care and the data therein.

    Let’s hope & pray that healthcare does not continue to become the ping pong that so many other issues have become within the last decade. As far as I’m concerned, the President (Bush & Obama), Congress, DHHS Secretary, Office of the National Coordinator -Health Information Technology, and most of all the citizens and users of the healthcare system have all had their say… the roadmap has been laid out and we need to all get to our goal. Lobbyists and money should not be the driving force in this country but what’s good for the majority of the people in this country! We the people for the people!

    Too many hours and too many dollars have already been spent developing the infrastructure to achieve quality and cost effective patient care through quality information via the vehicles of tomorrow – EHR and HIE in a global environment!

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  8. All too often, providers are mandated to be compliant with deadlines issued by payers and most notably the government.

    At some point we need to hold our officials and government accountable for their “half of the deal”. We cannot continue to spend our resources on programs that continue to drift off into the future.

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