CMS Finally Breaks Its Silence on ICD-10 Delay

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It's not much--just a simple statement posted on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. However, it appears that CMS has broken its silence regarding the ICD-10 implementation delay.

"With enactment of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, CMS is examining the implications of the ICD-10 provision and will provide guidance to providers and stakeholders soon," the website states. "This provision in the statute reads as follows: 'The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as the standard for codes sets under section 1173 (c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 (c)) and section 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.'”

In an April 9 article, Health Data Management took issue with the fact that the CMS website still listed the ICD-10 deadline as October 1, 2014, and at that point the agency had made no official public statements. There now is a statement, but the website still carries the October 2014 deadline.

What's holding CMS back from a definitive statement about the new ICD-10 deadline is the process for issuing a new compliance date. Given that the implementation deadline is based on congressional language passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama on April 1, CMS must consider its options on how to reconcile the legislative process with its own regulatory process. Though this is the second time in nearly two years that the ICD-10 compliance date has been pushed back, this time it's action by Congress not CMS that has been taken.

In an April 11 letter to CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner, the Coalition for ICD-10 urged that the delay for the code switchover deadline not extend past October 2015, and that CMS announce October 1, 2015 as the new implementation date for ICD-10 as soon as possible. "The delay is going to be disruptive and costly for healthcare delivery innovation, payment reform, public health, and healthcare spending, and uncertainty on the implementation date only adds to the disruption and cost," according to the letter.

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