Critical Reasons for Not Further Delaying ICD-10 Implementation

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On April 17, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a rule proposing postponement of the implementation date for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision diagnosis codes (ICD-10-CM) and procedure codes (ICD-10-PCS) by one year to October 1, 2014.

An article in Health Affairs titled “There Are Important Reasons For Delaying the Implementation Of The New ICD-10 Coding System” asserts that the ICD-10-CM conversion will be “expensive, arduous, disruptive, and of limited direct clinical benefit.”

Contrary to the conclusions in this article, implementation of the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets will provide major advantages over the existing ICD-9-CM code set. Implementation is long overdue and will provide significant cost benefits.

Any further implementation delay will increase the cost of the transition as well as perpetuate the costs and negative consequences associated with continued reliance on imprecise diagnosis and procedure information.

Click here to read the full article “There Are Critical Reasons for Not Further Delaying the Implementation of the New ICD-10 Coding System” by Richard F. Averill, MS, and Susan E. Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS.


  1. Nice job, but I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t have been “better” to have this article published in Health Affairs as an opposing opinion (rebuttal).

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  2. A “letter to the editor” (referencing the full article) will be published by Health Affairs.

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  3. Having learned both the ICD-9-CM and now being able to learn the ICD-10-CM has taught methat the ICD-10-CM method is far more detailed and really has not required much re-learning the materials. Yes there are now 7 digits instead of 4 but it is all there in the book. I found it to be a very easy transition and I think that for people who have been using the ICD-9-CM method will transition quite niceling in the ICD-10-CM way of life.

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  4. Melissa:
    Exactly, that’s what I tell people too: It’s all in the book!

    If you’re not so set in your old ways that you’re doing the coding all from your head you are looking up the codes in the book, and once you actually start using ICD-10 you’ll notice it won’t be much harder than before.

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  5. It would be interesting to see research that compares estimates of the total cost to the healthcare industry for using ICD-9 codes another 8-10 years to implement ICD-11 (forgoing ICD-10) to the total cost to the industry to for using ICD-10 codes instead of ICD-11 codes for the 10+ additional years it will take to implement ICD-11 after ICD-10.

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  6. We need to keep up with technology, and I feel ICD-10 will help us do that. It is all about capturing and explaining the patient’s episode of care. It will help in so many areas.

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  7. I believe that as has been mentioned any further delay would adversely affect the delivery of quality healthcare. Much of the pushback comes because of perception. Healthcare professionals have to realize that increased reimbursement, as well as effective compliance can’t be obtained without this vital change. And wow!! Why is the US the last industrialized country to make the change? There is no need to fear this change.

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  8. Usually companies will acepct a Super Bill with more than one date of service as long as you note the CPT code and fee for each session. You can then note the total paid at the bottom.

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