Groups continue to push for two-year delay in ICD-10

Could another ICD-10 delay pass Congress as early as next week? That's one of the scenarios outlined in an article at the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association.

The article's authors say a delay could be attached in an amendment to a $157 billion fiscal 2015 spending bill for the departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services that expires on Dec. 11. It's considered a must-pass bill, but one that has languished since summer due to partisan objections.

Another option is for the deal to be attached to a sustainable growth rate (SGR) patch, as the most recent delay was.

Several state medical associations and the National Physicians' Council for Healthcare Policy (NPCHP), in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urged delaying implementation of the new code set by two years. And the Texas Medical Association also is urging a delay until 2017.

At the same time, AHIMA and the Coalition for ICD-10--a group of healthcare associations, insurers, and vendors--are lobbying to keep the existing implementation date of Oct. 1, 2015.

It a separate letter to Boehner in November, AHIMA was one of 15 organizations--including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and America's Health Insurance Plans--pressing the need for no more delays.

Healthcare organizations have complained that the continued delays have cost them time, effort and money while they're simultaneously trying to meet deadlines for multiple federal mandates.

As James Libecco, a single practitioner at Akron Skin Center in Ohio, has pointed out, the delays reward practitioners who drag their feet.

"It goes to penalize those who made the effort to get ready last time. That is not the right approach," he told EHR Intelligence.

However, most large organizations are pressing on with their ICD-10 preparations, with a majority saying they'll soon start end-to-end testing. However, smaller organizations anticipate more hurdles, according to a recent AHIMA survey.

To learn more:
- read the article
- here's the bill
- here's the letter
- check out the Texas effort