Rather than giving breathing room, the government’s announcement about an ICD-10 implementation delay “for certain providers” is creating industry confusion, panelists at HIMSS12 said. “People don’t know what to do now,” said Keith Olenik, interim system director, Cook County Health System, Chicago. “The Department of Health and Human Services has added another layer of complexity to something already difficult to do.”

In its announcement, HHS said it would begin a process to delay the Oct. 2013 deadline for the new coding system. But at this point it’s unclear how long any delay would be or who would be affected. And that is throwing sand into the gears at payers and providers attempting to prepare for the new coding system. “If we delay our effort now, we won’t hit the target date,” said Joanne Romasko, director of medical economics, Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana.

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