ICD-10 faces possible deadline delay with upcoming Congress vote

The details in one recent bill mean that ICD-10 might get delayed.

After all of the work that your practices have gone through to anticipate the ICD-10 deadline, it seems that this might change after all. Even though Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has already said that there will be no change to the October 1 cutoff point for compliance, Congress will be voting on a measure that could override this.

Nestled inside the text of a bill that will be voted on this week, the motion would push the deadline back until October of next year. It's only a minor part of the overall bill, and yet if it passed, it could have major effects for the ICD-10 preparation effort.

Although Tavenner, in her previous comments on the matter, said that the healthcare community has had plenty of time to prepare, there is an argument to be made that forcing the deadline before most practices are ready could be disastrous. 

In the Denver Business Journal, Ed Sealover makes that argument somewhat, claiming that the period after October first will be a nightmare.

"The penalty for physicians who don't code correctly after Oct. 1 will be denial of claims, an action that likely will cause them to have to re-submit, will slow down their time frame for reimbursement and could have a major operational effect on physicians' offices' operating cash flow," he writes.

Other practices don't necessarily have to be that pessimistic. HIPAA compliance software and other tools designed to enforce best practices could at the very least give you a chance to make things better. If the deadline is delayed or revised, it should be looked at as a chance to get practices closer to implementing valuable health IT innovations.

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