Now that the ICD-10 delay is the law of the land, you would have thought that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would have communicated something on the code switchover process going forward. But, a quick check of the CMS website still lists the ICD-10 deadline as October 1, 2014.

On April 1, President Obama signed into law legislation passed by the House and Senate delaying ICD-10 until at least October 1, 2015. Nevertheless, CMS has been eerily silent on what the next steps are for healthcare organizations and how to plan accordingly. The ICD-10 delay is forcing organizations to reassess their timelines and budgets for complying with the code change, yet at this point there are more questions than answers

The American Health Information Management Association has requested clarification from CMS on a number of technical issues surrounding the extension of the ICD-10 deadline, including the exact length of the delay. However, so far, the agency has not responded to the query from AHIMA and the organization's staff is not sure when they will hear back from CMS.

"We hope very soon but we don't know exactly. There's a lot of discussion about what they need to do and what the process will be," said Sue Bowman, AHIMA’s senior director for coding policy and compliance, in an April 4 webcast for its members, which include more than 72,000 health information management and health informatics professionals.

"Someone had asked, ‘What is the process for issuing a new compliance date?’ We're not entirely sure what it has to be due to the fact that this was congressional language," said Bowman. "The compliance date in the past has always been a regulatory process with a proposed rule and a final rule, so we're not sure if they would have to actually issue a regulation and then go through the regulatory process to pass a new compliance date."  

AHIMA is holding a previously scheduled ICD-10 meeting April 22-23 in Washington. WEDI has just announced, along with co-sponsors HIMSS, PAHCOM and AAPC, that it will convene an "emergency industry summit" on April 30 in Reston, Va. to "provide an action plan in response to the ICD-10 implementation delay."

In response to a query from Health Data Management about the ICD-10 delay, a CMS spokesperson said: "We are examining the legislation and will provide guidance to providers and other stakeholders soon."

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