February 11, 2015

ICD-10: It’s Time!

By Kim Charland, BA, RHIT, CCS

For our subscribers today who could not listen live to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee hearing on “Examining ICD-10 Implementation,” it was very revealing – and I believe it reflected a change in direction to favoring the Oct. 1, 2015 ICD-10 implementation date.

I watched the hearing myself, and I thought the witnesses who testified in support of the current implementation date did a great job of representing the various members of the healthcare community and explaining why it is time to implement ICD-10. Their message that the majority of the healthcare community is or will be ready soon was well heard. One of the main messages that came out of today’s hearing was that the continued delays of ICD-10 is what is now causing the complaints of some who still say they are not ready. It needs to be known that there will be no more delays. The few who are left unprepared will not commit if they continue to think another delay will happen.

On the other hand, the single person testifying not to implement or look for a better implementation strategy did not really give any new reasons why we should not stick to the Oct. 1, 2015 implementation date, in my opinion. While we all understand the pressures that physicians are under (and, for that fact, everyone in healthcare right now), three delays and an additional six years to get ready means it is hard to keep defending the stance that yet another delay is needed.

Testimony in support of the current implementation date included comments from:

  • Dr. Edwin M. Burke from the Bayer Medical Group, a five-provider practice in rural Missouri;
  • Rich F. Averill, director of public policy at 3M Health Information Systems;
  • Sue Bowman, senior director of coding policy and compliance, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA);
  • Kristi A Matus, chief financial and administrative officer at Athena Health;
  • Carmella Bocchino, executive vice president of clinical affairs and strategic planning for America’s Health Insurance Plans; Dr. John Hughes, professor of medicine at Yale University.

The sole testimony against the existing implementation date came from Dr. William Jefferson Terry, a member of the American Urological Association and Urology and Oncology Specialists, PC.

Several members of the Energy and Commerce Committee came right out and stated their support of the Oct. 1, 2015 implementation date – including Chairman Pitts. ICD10monitor’s special Talk Ten Tuesdays broadcast held on Wednesday covered the hearing, and all reporting agreed that the message was very encouraging (if you did not get to listen live, you can listen to our recorded podcast available on our website at www.icd10monitor.com). 

The message today from our broadcast is that everyone needs to stay the course and keep moving ahead; keep reaching out to those who still need help and keep the ICD-10 message strong and positive!

About the Author 

Kim Charland is the senior vice president of clinical innovation for Panacea Healthcare Solutions and co-host of Talk Ten Tuesdays. 

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