When news of the congressional legislation being prepared for a possible March 27 vote broke on March 26, healthcare industry leaders moved quickly to assert their viewpoints. Russell P. Branzell, president and CEO of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), told Healthcare Informatics that his organization was preparing a formal statement within the next day on the subject. In the meantime, he said, “Obviously, as we stated weeks ago, we are not for an ICD-10 delay at this point. Many of our members are concerned about software delivery and readiness, but this is nothing like concerns over meaningful use Stage 3. And in many cases, this could cause damage, because they’ve already prepared for dual coding, and have hired trainers for this. This is way too late in the process to create a delay.”
Branzell went on to say, “We think they should continue to move forward for IcD-10 on October 1. And if there are segments of the industry that are not ready—and it appears that some physicians, particularly specialists, are least ready—you could go to a dual billing system for some period of time while moving most of the industry forward. I saw an AHIMA [American Health Information Management Association] release,” Branzell added, “that said this delay could cost between $1 billion and $6 billion, and I can understand that. If you look at the costs to organizations, they’ve staffed up, have resourced up, are prepared for the new environment, an d then with a delay, you have to do all that all over again. If they really want to have an impact in smoothing out the impact on the industry, smooth out the timeline on meaningful use Stage 2.”
Healthcare Informatics will continue to update readers on new developments in this evolving story.