Is ICD-10 excessive? Implementation not keeping up with timeline

Congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas) railed against the level of specificity in ICD-10 on the House floor Wednesday, including its nine different codes reflecting injury inflicted by a turkey and three ways to be injured by a lamppost.

Poe argued that the new system is excessive. It expands the 18,000 codes in ICD-9 for various injuries and diseases to more than 140,000 codes.

"Seems nine codes for a turkey assault is a bit silly," Poe is quoted in The Hill.  "It's red tape, it's bureaucracy, and this is what happens when clueless big government here in Washington starts telling people out in the workplace, doctors and patients, what they must do and when government intrudes into our lives with more regulations."

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website states that 30-year-old ICD-9 is outdated, does not describe current practice and cannot be expanded with new codes. The expanded ICD-10 is used by dozens of other developed countries.

The Department of Health & Human Services recently announced that the Oct. 1, 2014, deadline will stand, though many organizations are in the early stages of their conversion plans and one-third of providers in a survey by healthcare consultants Aloft Group say they haven't even started.

Similarly, a just-released survey from The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) concludes that the industry is not progressing at a rate that will ensure a smooth transition by the deadline.

It polled close to 1,000 providers, health plans and vendors in February, concluding that the industry overall is falling behind its recommended timeline.

Among the findings:

  • Almost half the health plans have pushed the start of external testing back to the end of this year.
  • About half of the providers did not know when testing would occur; two-fifths said they did not know when they would complete their impact assessment and business changes.
  • About two thirds of vendors plan to begin customer review and beta testing by the end of this year.

Christine Armstrong, principal at Deloitte, in a recent interview with FierceHealthIT, urged organizations to allow more time for both internal and external testing because those who have done it so far are finding that it takes longer than expected.

To learn more:
- here's The Hill post
- find the WEDI announcement