ICD-10 Delayed, Work Continues
On Tuesday, April 1, the U.S. Senate – following similar action by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 27 – approved a 12-month patch to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), providing relief from massive cuts in Medicare payments looming for physicians. Included in that bill was a provision that forces a delay to ICD-10-CM/PCS coding implementation until at least Oct. 1, 2015.
Many physicians and practice staff will see the mandatory one-year delay as an opportunity to further prepare, refine processes, test coding and billing systems, and to get more comfortable with the changes and challenges ahead. All entities covered by HIPAA, including health plans, hospitals, health care providers, and any others using diagnosis and procedure codes, must transition to the use of ICD-10-CM/PCS codes for clinical diagnosis and procedure information by the new deadline.
David S. McGreaham, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Munson Medical Center, said that physicians can count on continued support from the hospital. “Many across the Munson Healthcare system and in private practice have been working diligently to meet an Oct. 1, 2014 deadline for the move to ICD-10. We’ve all put many hours and resources into clinical documentation improvements, impact analysis, report and process remediation, and education and training. Despite this delay, we need to keep moving forward. We cannot lose the momentum we have built simply because of a delay in the deadline. ICD-10 readiness remains a priority and we all have significant risk if we are not successful.”
Clinical Documentation a Key
ICD-10-CM/PCS coding language relies on increased specificity in clinical documentation. Dr. McGreaham noted that a focus on clinical documentation excellence and capturing the additional detail needed to code under ICD-10 is beneficial to both hospitals and physicians even under the current ICD-9 system. “While the delay is expected to be a topic of much discussion and speculation, we don’t want it to distract us from our priorities – clinical documentation excellence leading to better coordination of patient care and accurate reimbursement for the care we all deliver,” he said.
The hospital plans to move forward with most elements of its ICD-10 implementation plan. The ICD-10 Program Team is evaluating and recommending adjustments to the various work plans, timelines, and education schedules to ensure that milestones are timed for maximum effect and gains achieved are not lost. The ICD-10 workshops for practice managers on April 8 and 9, and the April 16 ICD-10-CM coder training will proceed as planned. Updates on physician education will be shared as soon as new timelines are established.