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Groups split on final CMS ICD-10 decision

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | August 24, 2012
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has had a busy past two days. On Thursday, the agency released the final rules for stage 2 meaningful use. And now on Friday, it has finalized the ICD-10 compliance deadline.

In the final rules, CMS has confirmed that it's pushing back the date by which providers have to use the updated morbidity classification system from October 2013 to October 2014. The Department of Health and Human Services had planned on the earlier date when it first called for adopting ICD-10 in 2009, but this spring the HHS indicated it would push back the deadline.

"We believe this change will give covered entities the additional time needed to synchronize system and business process preparation and change over to the updated medical data code sets," CMS said in a 208-page rule published in the Federal Register, which also separately adopts a standard identifier for health plans.

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American Health Information Management Association, which had previously opposed the delay, said it was "reassured" by the new deadline.

"ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation is inevitable, but today's news gives the health care community the certainty and clarity it needs to move forward with implementation, testing and training," AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said in a statement.

However, MGMA-ACMPE, which represents medical group practices, voiced concerns that the HHS didn't undertake "due diligence" in showing the new system wouldn't disrupt cash flows. The association also worried that CMS won't have enough time to conduct pilot tests for the program before its 2014 implementation rate.

"We urge CMS to significantly escalate its implementation efforts by pilot testing ICD-10, ensuring health plan, clearinghouse and vendor readiness, and developing comprehensive educational resources," MGMA boss Dr. Susan Turney said in a statement.

To read the final rule containing the ICD-10 delay and the new health plan identifier, go here: http://tinyurl.com/98hbm24

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