Congress urged not to Further Delay the ICD 10 Implementation

It was the very slow rate of ICD 10 transition among the hospitals that forced Congress to pass the legislation pushing the ICD 10 implementation date to October 2015. But, many hospitals were prepared to meet the initial deadline and they are disappointed by the fact that the Federal Government keeps delaying the full implementation of ICD 10 coding system.

Health organizations request for Timely Implementation of ICD 10

As rumours started doing the rounds about the Federal Government considering moving the ICD 10 transition date even further, these organizations have come forward with a letter addressed to the Senate and House of Representatives leaders. Essentially, they are urging the Congress leaders to stick to the current deadline.

The switch to ICD 10 from the decade-old ICD 9 coding system is long overdue. And, the ICD 10 transition is in the best interests of patients, doctors and every other stakeholder. No one is arguing against the need for upgrading from the old ICD 9 coding system. ICD 10 provides codes for many of the newly discovered diseases, symptoms and newly invented treatment methods. However, the process of transition can be a costly and time-consuming affair.

ICD 9 had only 14,000 codes. But, the new ICD 10 coding system consists of 69,000. So, this involves changing all the software tools and applications currently in use as well as training the hospital staff and medical coders and billers, who are doing the data entry. Apparently, many organizations are finding it difficult to make the ICD 10 transition within the prescribed deadline and they are putting pressure on the Federal Government to extend the same.

But, this creates unnecessary inconveniences to those healthcare organizations, who were ready with the ICD 10 system in place even before the last deadline. They now have to juggle with both ICD 9 and ICD 10 coding systems. For example, since the insurance companies are still using ICD 9, they have to make sure that they generate the medical insurance claims using ICD 9 codes. But, all the patient records for future reference are better done in ICD 10. Also, it is important that all the hospitals sharing the patient records through the EHR network follow the same coding system for recording diseases and symptoms.

For all these reasons, it is vital that the Federal Government imposes a stricter timeline for ICD 10 implementation and stops delaying it any further to accommodate the hospitals lagging behind.