There are just over 6 months to go until the October 1, 2015 deadline for ICD-10 implementation. While this deadline is getting closer, the rumblings about ICD-10 readiness issues and yet another possible ICD-10 delay are starting to surface.
Letter to CMS asking for Contingency Plans
In a recent letter on behalf of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, and several other state and specialty societies, sent to CMS Acting Administrator Slavitt regarding concerns with the current transition plan, and recommendations to come up with an alternative solution. One key area of focus for the coalition is urging CMS to help mitigate "risks by granting advance payments (which are nothing more than reimbursement outside of the normal claims processing system for services already rendered, such as paper checks) to physicians experiencing a dire financial hardship as a result of the change to ICD-10, particularly if the issue originates on Medicare's end."
Some of the strongest language is in the conclusion of the letter: "the undersigned organizations remain gravely concerned that many aspects of this undertaking have not been fully assessed and that contingency plans may be inadequate if serious disruptions occur on or after October 1." The conclusion goes on to say "physicians are being asked to assume this significant change at the same time they are being required to adopt new technology, re-engineer workflow, and reform the way they deliver care-all of which are challenging their ability to care for patients and make investments to improve quality."
Possibility of another ICD-10 delay
This week it was reported that during the month of March congress expects to attempt to fix the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for reimbursing physicians; and "a delay in the ICD-10 compliance date could be in the mix." According to the report, Representative Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chair of the house committee, "has been meeting with physicians and discussing how ICD-10 will affect all parties in the medical community."
In the report, Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor at the Medical Group Management Association, states that "there are other House members sympathetic to the arguments of physicians." So far, legislation has not been drafted only rumblings of another possible ICD-10 delay.
Will the recent letter to CMS asking for contingency plans or the attempt to fix the SGR lead to another ICD-10 delay? Time will tell. For now we will keep a close eye on any updates coming out of Washington especially as Congress looks to once again, find a permanent solution to the SGR formula. We feel the best thing providers and practices can do is to continue moving forward with ICD-10 plans to ensure readiness by October 1, 2015.
Did you know we have an ICD-10 Primer course and an ICD-10-CM course?
If you would like more information about the ICD-10 Primer course and an ICD-10-CM course or if you have any questions, please feel free to comment below or send us an email at [email protected] or reach us by phone toll-free at 855-427-0427.