As per the recent reports, the official date for ICD 10 coding transition has been postponed to one year i.e. until October 1, 2015. Although this has come as a relief for most healthcare organizations that were still not ready for moving onto the latest ICD coding sets, some physicians have however expressed their disapproval.
Interestingly, a number of healthcare organizations were already prepared for changing to ICD 10 coding by this year itself. Some of them even had got their offers certified and were about to start teaching their physicians about the new set of codes. Hence, the latest announcement has clearly put them in a dilemma as to what to do next. As stated by Mr. McCleese, CIO at a Regional Medical Center in Morehead, “We were prepared to be ready October 1 of 2014. The plan was we were going to start dual-coding in ICD-9 and ICD-10 in the spring of 2014. We got our coders certified. They were ready to go. We hadn’t started teaching physicians as far as what needed to go there for the ICD-10s, but we’d started meeting with them, letting them know that these changes are coming.”
Earlier this year, section 212 was introduced in the doc fix bill and this prohibited the secretary of Health and Human Services from using the ICD 10 coding sets before the official deadline. McCleese also said that this was actually frustrating and his coders would not opt for re-certification, which was actually pointless because they had already acquired the necessary certification. For several other providers, the delay in ICD coding transition also resulted in the wastage of money that had been spent on getting advanced, computer-assisted coding technology solutions.
Another issue concerning the delay in the official date for ICD 10 coding transition is that many healthcare providers are now worrying if there will be another postponement next year. If so, then they would not want to waste their money and resources again in adopting the latest set of coding rules.
Amidst all these concerns, it has been publicly announced that the healthcare organizations must be ready with the ICD transition at least six months prior to the official date. This is advised because getting acclimatized to the latest coding sets would require some time and if the physicians are already ready for it, say six months earlier, there would be minimal loss in the healthcare sector once the official deadline finally sets in.