CMS: No Further Delays in ICD-10-CM/PCS Implementation

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will maintain their commitment to the current ICD-10-CM/PCS compliance date of October 1, 2014, according to a letter sent to AHIMA President Kathleen A. Frawley.

The letter was sent in response to AHIMA’s call for CMS to stand firm on its ICD-10 implementation date after more than 80 physician groups represented by the American Medical Association called on CMS in January to delay or abandon the ICD-10 conversion.

Robert Tagalicod, director of CMS’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services, wrote that CMS agrees with AHIMA’s recommendation to continue progress toward ICD-10 implementation.

“Based on your feedback and other stakeholder input, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services believes that the one-year extension offers physicians adequate time to train their coders, complete system changeovers, and conduct testing,” Tagalicod wrote. “Furthermore, we have found that many private and public sector health plans, hospitals and hospital systems, and large physician practices are far along in their ICD-10 implementation.”

CMS’ Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner formally declined the AMA’s ICD-10 request in a letter sent February 6, stating a halt of implementation “would be costly, burdensome, and would eliminate the impending benefits” of ICD-10, according to an American Academy of Family Physicians blog post.

The AMA said that implementing the new code set would create additional and unnecessary burdens on physicians at a time when they are already inundated with other healthcare system changes.

Tagalicod wrote that CMS believes ICD-10 is a key part of ongoing healthcare reform efforts, and a “cornerstone” of several programs working to modernize and improve the healthcare system and lower costs.

“Integrated programs such as Version 5010, the ICD-10 code-set itself, the Medicare & Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, and the Physician Quality Reporting System are all aimed at accomplishing these outcomes,” he wrote. “Together they move America’s health care system towards better coordinated care through greater interoperability and ease of transmitting electronic data; better quality measurement and reporting of clinical outcomes data; and lower costs achieved through operational efficiencies.”

AHIMA has launched a state-level ICD-10 Advocacy Initiative to assist the physician community with ICD-10 education and implementation issues. AHIMA’s component state associations will be reaching out to physicians, physician groups, and organizations to offer assistance and access to resources to insure compliance by October 1, 2014.


  1. Ever since the idea of ICD10, there has been a cost that will not be evenely distributed. Some mployers would rather outsource than pay for training staff and others just cannot afford it. AHIMA and AAPC have a lot of wonderful classes and books, for a fee and lots of your time. We put a lot of time and money into becoming coders, to do it again is not an idea I look forward too. There are a few places to find some free training, but will it be enough. As coders, we are expected to do additional CEU hours for ICD10, at a personal cost, do training, become proficient and be tested for proficiency. All at additional cost to a career we will not get paid any more for doing. The we are expected to be the educators for physicans and ancillary staff. I for one would appreciate a delay. Then, I have time to think of my next career move.

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  2. I am gratified that CMS has refused the AMA request. I can understand Pam’s viewpoint, but a new code set is going to afford great benefits that I am hoping eventually will be felt in all areas of healthcare and ultimately improve patient outcomes and the costs of care. I think it is taking a really narrow view to look at just how it impacts your coding career. I for one am willing to move forward and learn! I am excited about it.

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  3. As an instructor, having a definite timeframe with adequate lead allows me to plan school resources, student purchases, and curriculum. Thanks for holding firm. Students and teachers appreciate it. We will be ready!

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  5. Coder Pam,

    Please don’t change careers because of ICD-10! You worked hard for your certification and, in doing so, demonstrated that you are capable of learning new things. We don’t stop learning until we die. While there are tons of new codes, many of which we will never remember, ICD-10-CM is not structurally any different than ICD-9 with a few exceptions. 1) The codes can be up to seven alpha/numeric characters; 2) The use of placeholder “x” is found in some spaces where you have to extend a code to a high number of characters; 3) We have two types of “excludes” notes; and 4) new terminology such as “episode of care” and “sequela”. There are some changes in the guidelines, but again, nothing you will have any trouble understanding if you already have a solid understanding of ICD-9-CM.

    In some cases, ICD-10 may actually simplify a code. For example, in ICD-9, we have three codes for hypertension (401.0, 401.1, and 401.9). In ICD-10-CM, the code for hypertension is a single code, I10. When I do ICD-10 training, I always tell my students, “Please don’t get diagnosed with I10 because of ICD-10!”

    Like any new skill, it will take some time to get use to ICD-10 and there will be frustrations with new payer guidelines and glitzes, but change in technology and the healthcare industry occurs every day. We now live in a society of constant change.

    You can do this!

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  6. Rather than being frustrated with the coming of ICD-10-CM, I encourage everyone to see it as a career opportunity. It is an opportunity to become proactive, educate yourself, and take the lead in educating others. Make yourself a valuable member of the team. Every profession has its changes and we all must adapt and learn new things. We can either embrace change or fight it, but we are not going to stop it.

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  7. This ICD 10 situation is going to be s nightmare. As a private practitioner this is the straw that breaks the camels back. No one is thinking of the little guy just trying to make a damn living.this is my livelihood and all the IT people think about is how to suck more money out of Dr making less and less of it . So shame on all of you who think this I’d so wonderful and remember computers can’t treat people.

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  8. I believe this is a major undertaking and those that did the
    brainstorming, just don’t realize the impact this has on
    the United States.. Hoping, this is pushed off for a few years.

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  9. I am a long time coder, started with ICD-8, ICD-9 and now I-10. I love Coding. I am ready for I-10. Its a great system, only would be greater if the Providers will give us better documentation. Education to Providers is crucial for a very successful I-10 Coding system. Is going to be a big challenge for coders, indeed.

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  10. It’s about time the USA gets onboard with ICD-10. Many other countries have already been utilizing it now for many years. It’s much more detailed and accurate of a coding system. So with that being said… I’m all for ICD-10 and I’m ready for the challenge and ready to learn. Bring it on!

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  11. ICD-10 may be great for collecting data to track people or events? It does not improve the care! It is causing an extreme amount of anxiety on those that it does effect. Physicians are wondering why they need 6 months or more of extended credit to survive when the ICD-10 is implemented. Re-imbursement is down and they are less productive because of the EHR needed for documentation. Most of my colleagues are looking for alternatives to there medical practice. What other profession has to endure this type of manipulation?

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  12. Personally I am torn on this idea. In my own organization 3 coders will be leaving/retiring this summer because of I-10. I see the benefits but and I am in training for I-10 but along with our regular workload it is a burden. Other healthcare organizations in the area are locking down their coders with bonuses for retention through the transition. We are currently down 3 coders as it is so my organization has lifted the requirement for having to have a certification. Makes me think should I continue in our “profession”. Could be just the burnout thinking here. Thanks for the opportunity to voice my frustration.

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