Exactly a month after Congress unexpectedly delayed the mandatory implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS for at least one year, on Thursday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) officially announced a forthcoming interim final rule that would set the new compliance date for October 1, 2015.
“On April 1, 2014, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) (Pub. L. No. 113-93) was enacted, which said that the Secretary may not adopt ICD-10 prior to October 1, 2015,” read a statement e-mailed to Journal of AHIMA staff from a CMS spokesperson. “Accordingly, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015. The rule will also require HIPAA covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through September 30, 2015.”
The announcement from CMS likely came as a relief to healthcare stakeholders, who for the last month have lived in delay limbo trying to figure out how to proceed with ICD-10 implementation efforts in the absence of a new implementation date.
Officials from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), who launched a heavy lobby effort in late March to prevent another delay of the new code set, said they are pleased that CMS has decided to limit the delay to the one year minimum called for by Congress.
“We know that the industry has already invested considerable time and money in implementation. We have long advocated for a coding system that offers flexibility and specificity, enables us to properly assess healthcare services, understand public health needs, and get the best rate of return from our national investment in EHRs and meaningful use,” said AHIMA officials in a press release. “All along, AHIMA has urged our members to ‘stay the course’ of preparing for implementation.
“During the coming year, we recommend that the industry keep its momentum going, continuing to prepare by strengthening clinical documentation improvement programs, working with vendors on transition readiness, training coders and other stakeholders, and proceeding with dual coding.”
AHIMA officials have said they aim to guide all areas of the healthcare industry toward compliance with the new code set, particularly the physician community, which has generally been against implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS.
“[We] are prepared to support programs such as the field support training for small physician practices proposed by CMS,” the statement said. “AHIMA maintains its commitment to being a resource for all stakeholders during the transition and will continue working with public sector organizations and agencies along with industry partners such as the Coalition for ICD-10 to ensure a smooth transition for the industry.”
Click here to view a video of AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon commenting on the new ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation date.