Doc: It's time to get to work on ICD-10

It's time for ICD-10 to be implemented, and added delays are not likely to motivate organizations any more than the others ones did, says pediatrician Michael Lee, the director of clinical informatics at Atrius Health.

The past delays didn't help the industry, and only served to hinder forward momentum, Lee writes at Physicians Practice. In July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized Oct. 1, 2015, as the new compliance date, the third time the transition has been delayed since 2009.

Atrius Health, a nonprofit multi-specialty medical group based in Newton, Massachusetts, is ready for the new coding system, according to Lee. The organization has moved its front-end systems to ICD-10 and partnered with the Massachusetts Health Data Consortium to test and troubleshoot the new codeset.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office found that the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services has taken positive steps to help prepare the healthcare industry for ICD-10.

However, Lee says that with testing by the CMS coming this spring, it doesn't give providers much time to address problems.

"There is still a great deal of uncertainty in the healthcare community about what is going to happen with ICD-10, especially with recent staffing changes at CMS," he says.

But, he adds, that doesn't mean ICD-10 should be delayed again.

"While it would have been wise for the government to move forward with an Oct. 1, 2014, launch ... halting implementation now would be a huge burden to the industry," Lee writes. "It's not time for another delay; it's time to get to work."

Healthcare providers are not the only ones who are ready for the transition to take place. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health made clear at a hearing examining ICD-10 implementation that they do not want to see the transition delayed yet again.

To learn more:
- read the Physicians Practice post

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