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CMS Slips New ICD-10 Date Inside Payment Policy Report

May 1, 2014
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Deep inside a 1,700-page proposed rule on fiscal year 2015 inpatient payment policies,  it appears that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made October 1, 2015 the new ICD-10 implementation deadline.

Various news media outlets reported earlier today that on page 648 of the proposed rule—made available on April 30—it states, “ICD-10-CM/PCS transition is scheduled to take place on Oct. 1, 2015. After that date, we will collect non-electronic health record-based quality measure data coded only in ICD-10-CM/PCS."

CMS also asks for comments on how, if at all, it should adjust performance scoring under the Hospital VBP (value-based purchasing) program to accommodate quality data coded under ICD-10-CM/PCS, or otherwise ensure fair and accurate comparisons under the Hospital VBP program once the transition date has passed.

At the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) 2014 ICD-10 and Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) Summit in Washington D.C. last week, in the first public comment from CMS since the delay, Denise Buenning, acting deputy director of the Office of E-Health Standards, said that she expects the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will announce a new implementation date in the near future and reaffirmed CMS’ commitment to ICD-10.

In an announcement sent out on the evening of May 1, AHIMA applauded CMS for setting an implementation date. “We know that the industry has already invested considerable time and money in implementation. We have long advocated for a coding system that offers flexibility and specificity, enables us to properly assess healthcare services, understand public health needs, and get the best rate of return from our national investment in EHRs and meaningful use. All along, AHIMA has urged our members to ‘stay the course’ of preparing for implementation. During the coming year, we recommend that the industry keep its momentum going, continuing to prepare by strengthening clinical documentation improvement programs, working with vendors on transition readiness, training coders and other stakeholders, and proceeding with dual coding.”

UPDATE: In an email, CMS said, "Under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-93), the Secretary may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as standard code sets under HIPAA, so CMS must wait for an announcement from the Secretary as to when ICD-10 will be implemented." However, according to media reports, CMS officials have confirmed that the Oct. 1, 2015 will be the new deadline.

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