The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed a rule that would push back the deadline for compliance to the International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD-10) of diagnostic codes by one year to October 1, 2014. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first proposed the delay in February.

According to HHS, implementation of ICD-10 will accommodate new procedures and diagnoses unaccounted for in the ICD-9 code set and allow for greater specificity of diagnosis-related groups and preventive services. This transition, says HHS, will lead to improved accuracy in reimbursement for medical services, fraud detection, and historical claims and diagnoses analysis for the health care system.

Some provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the originally proposed October 1, 2013 compliance date. Their concerns about the ICD-10 compliance date are based, in part, on implementation issues they have experienced meeting HHS’ compliance deadline for the Associated Standard Committee’s (ASC) X12 Version 5010 standards (Version 5010) for electronic health care transactions. Compliance with Version 5010 is necessary prior to implementation of ICD-10.

All covered entities must transition to ICD-10 at the same time to ensure a smooth transition to the updated medical data code sets. Failure of any one industry segment to achieve compliance with ICD-10 would negatively impact all other industry segments and result in rejected claims and provider payment delays, according to HHS. HHS believes the change in the compliance date for ICD-10, as proposed in this rule, would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition among all industry segments.

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services