Lawmakers and stakeholders agreed in principle that the ICD-10 implementation shall not be delayed beyond the October 1 deadline at a House subcommittee hearing. According to Modern Healthcare, six of the seven witnesses agreed to avoid any further delays.
William Jefferson Terry, an Alabama-based urologist representing the American Urological Association, was the only witness arguing to delay the ICD-10 compliance date, citing there are several concerns about transitioning to the new code sets. Terry expressed that ICD-10 is a costly mandate and majority of private physicians are not prepared. Adhering to ICD-10 compliance date could affect many physicians, who might require closing down their practices.
Kristi Matus, athenahealth’s chief financial and administrative officer, emphasized that it is the decision time and either we shall maintain the current date or cancel it once and for all. Matus urged that there shall not be any further delay.
Sue Bowman, of the American Health Information Management Association, also favored to maintain the compliance date and expressed that further delay may add additional costs for providers. She also cited an HHS report that estimated a one-year delay to increase costs by 10% to 30% for providers, amounting to $1.1 billion to $6.8 billion for each additional one-year delay in implementing ICD-10.
U.S. health care organizations have already budgeted for transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets by October 1.
In April 2014, President Obama signed into law legislation, which pushed back the compliance date to October 2015. CMS announced a final rule in July 2014, establishing October 1, as the new ICD-10 implementation deadline for payers and providers still making the transition.
The American Hospital Association also expressed to maintain the current compliance deadline, in its statement submitted to the committee. According to AHA, over 93% of total 362 hospitals surveyed expressed they are either very confident or moderately confident in their preparedness to transition to ICD-10 code sets, which includes several new diseases and procedures.