On April 1, President Obama signed H.R.4302, effectively delaying the transition to ICD-10 for at least another year. This is great news for practices that were struggling to prepare, but frustrating for those who have already invested significant resources to make sure they were ready on Oct. 1, 2014.
The Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 will delay cuts in Medicare payments to physicians, but also includes a provision to delay ICD-10 until at least 2015. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 27, and by the Senate on Monday, March 31.
The transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 has been a contentious topic over the last few years, as it requires a significant amount of training and preparation by providers, coders, and billers.
The new code set offers a much higher degree of specificity in the reporting of diseases and will allow healthcare providers to more accurately describe diagnoses.
But, if practices aren't comfortable using the new codes after the official deadline, they'll see a negative effect on their bottom lines as unpaid claims build up.
Now everyone -- practices, billers, payers, and technology vendors -- have at least one more year to prepare.
NueMD ICD-10 and revenue cycle management expert James Veccie offered the following advice in light of the news.
“This is the second time in two years they’ve pushed back the implementation deadline, but don’t let the delay interrupt your preparation. Take the extra time to complete staff training and testing. If everyone thinks they can use the delay to forget about the deadline, we’re all going to be in the same place a year from now.”