ICD-10 deadline moved up, holding off costs for two years

In a decision that brought relief to healthcare managers nationwide, HHS has moved the deadline for moving all coding to ICD-10 CM up to October 1, 2013 from a prior deadline of October 1, 2011. ICD-10, which contains almost 10 times as many codes as ICD-9, should give healthcare managers the ability to capture a much longer list of procedures and diagnoses.

According to an estimate included in HHS's proposed rule, implementing the changes needed to move ahead with ICD-10 will cost providers almost $3 billion, with costs running well past the deadline into 2017. However, the agency estimates that benefits from the conversion will total $4.5 billion between 2015 and 2025. (That, of course, remains to be seen--and note that even if these benefit estimates are right, the costs will pile up for years before they are realized.)

In a related piece of rule making, HHS has also posted a final rule covering upgrades from the 12 Version 4010 data-transmission standards currently in use. The new rules call for Version 5010, needed for ICD-10 conversions given that ICD-10 codes are bigger and more complicated than ICD-9. Providers have until Jan. 1, 2012 to comply with these standards.

To learn more about the new standards:
- read this Modern Healthcare article (reg. req.)
- read this HFMA News item

Related Articles:
CIOs don't feel prepared for ICD-10
Switch to ICD-10 should be very costly
HHS proposes 2011 deadline for ICD-10 code adoption
CMS now says NPI must match IRS data