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As the US healthcare industry faces yet another delay in ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation, with a new compliance date of October 1, 2015, questions continue to arise as to whether there are any alternatives for replacement of ICD-9-CM other than implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS. In particular, use of SNOMED CT or waiting for ICD-11 are both alternatives that have received attention. This article addresses why neither of these approaches is a reasonable alternative to implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS, and why the US must remain fully committed to transitioning smoothly to ICD-10-CM/PCS on October 1, 2015 while leveraging the exciting opportunities presented by this transition.
On August 2, CMS issued a final rule updating FY 2014 Medicare payment policies and rates under IPPS and the LTCH PPS. The final rule modifies and clarifies CMS’s longstanding policy on how Medicare contractors review inpatient hospital admissions for payment purposes.
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.
This is not the time to walk away from an ICD-10 upgrade. ICD-11 is not as close as many people perceive, and the US simply cannot wait any longer to reverse the deterioration of its health data.