CMS official: We were ready for ICD-10

The ICD-10 delay that went into effect earlier this month won't be a total "killer" for implementation of the more advanced coding set, according to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services representative speaking to members of the American Health Information Management Association on Wednesday.

Denise Buenning (pictured), deputy director of CMS' Office of E-Health Standards and Services, speaking to AHIMA members at its ICD-10 summit this week in Washington, D.C., acknowledged that the decision to delay was surprising, ICD-10 Monitor reports.

"We were ready. I think we were as surprised as all of you," Buenning said of the delay, included in the most recent iteration of the sustainable growth rate patch. "My first reaction to the congressional action was thinking of individuals in coding schools."

While no new deadline was unveiled, Buenning said CMS has had "multiple conversations on [the delay] internally" and that "HHS will be making an announcement shortly."

Prior to the legislation, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said at HIMSS 2014 in Orlando, Fla., in February that implementation of ICD-10 would not be delayed any longer.

As reported in early April, not only did the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives express discord with the delay, so, too, did several CIOs on FierceHealthIT's Editorial Advisory Board when asked for their thoughts on the matter.

"Too many investments in time and money have gone in on this one to just say 'nope, not doing it,'" Roger Neal , VP and CIO at Duncan (Okla.) Regional Hospital, told FierceHealthIT via email. "Isn't it funny how healthcare gets slammed for being too expensive, yet we spend billions making shifts like this, [only] to turn around and have the rug yanked out from under us, which wastes billions in the process?"

Linda Reed, VP and CIO at Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health System, agreed, telling FierceHealthIT via email that "kicking the can down the road" will impact CIOs' plans to move forward with other projects.

To learn more:
- read the ICD-10 Monitor article