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CMS to 'Re-Examine' ICD-10 Timeframe

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By Keith Chartier

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) could delay the the implementation of the ICD-10 codes after mounting pressure in the medical community.

"There’s concern that folks cannot get their work done around meaningful use, their work around ICD-10 implementation and be ready for exchanges," acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said during a talk at the American Medical Association Advocacy Conference in Washington. "So we’re trying to listen to that and be responsive."

Medicare had set a firm date of Oct. 13, 2013 for the launch of the ICD-10 coding system, which would replace the current ICD-9 set.

Click HERE to learn more about ICD-10 implementation.

"I'm committing today to work with you to re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," she said at the conference. "I want to work together to ensure that we implement ICD-10 in a way that [meets its] goals while recognizing your concerns."

ICD-9, developed nearly 30 years ago, contains approximately 17,000 codes. Health plans, healthcare clearinghouses and healthcare providers that transmit information electronically are required to use ICD-9 codes by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

The ICD-10 is the 10th edition of the International Classification of Diseases and contains more than 155,000 codes.

The American Medical Association said the change could cost medical practices, by varying size, between $83,290 and more then $2.7 million.

On Feb. 2, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging a stop to the ICD-10 implementation. He asked the Obama administration to take a look at the financial and administrative burdens the switch would have on practices. He also wrote Jan. 17 letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R—Ohio, outlining similar concerns.

After the talk, Tavenner told reporters that CMS will "re-examine the timeframe" of ICD-10 implementation through rulemaking. Those details could be revealed soon.

Keith Chartier is the publisher of Renal Business Today.

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