On April 9, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a proposed rule that would delay the compliance deadline for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) diagnostic code set from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014. HHS issued a fact sheet on the proposed compliance delay.
The proposed rule, to be published in the Federal Register on April 17, would also require that health plans adopt a unique health plan identifier for all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) transactions. The identifier would help standardize and streamline electronic transactions and save the industry $4.6 billion over the next 10 years, according to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. HHS issued a separate fact sheet regarding the identifier.
HHS had promised in February to delay the ICD-10 compliance date. The delay will give providers and insurers additional time to prepare for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, which many medical societies complained was coming amidst an “imminent storm” of other new federal regulations (“AMA Asks CMS for a Break,” April 2). The proposed rule states, “Since publication of the ICD-10 and Modifications final rules, a number of other statutory initiatives were enacted, requiring health care provider compliance and reporting. Providers are concerned about their ability to expend limited resources to implement and participate in . . . initiatives that all have similar compliance timeframes.”
Other industry commentators, however, expressed concern that the delay will be costly for those providers and insurers that are already in the process of implementing the transition, and result in procrastination (with no improved readiness by the new deadline) by those that aren’t.
Already in use in more than 20 countries, ICD-10 contains 69,000 diagnosis codes, compared to the 13,500 in ICD-9, and another 72,000 procedure codes. The new codes will provide much more specific patient data, which HHS expects will lead to better care.