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Possible ICD-10 Delay Nets Widespread Physician Support

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 15, 2012

Signals that federal officials might "re-examine the pace" of next year's implementation dates for ICD-10 are bringing mostly favorable reactions from healthcare providers. [Update: delay has been confirmed.]

Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told an American Medical Association conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday that the federal government was sympathetic to physicians' concerns about the Oct. 1, 2013 implementation date for the new standard of diagnostic classification.

"I'm committing today to work with you to reexamine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," Tavenner said as a room full of doctors applauded, according to a post from the Massachusetts Medical Society. "I want to work together to ensure that we implement ICD-10 in a way that (meets its) goals while recognizing your concerns."

Tavenner made no specific promises at the AMA event, but she said CMS may soon issue a statement on the topic in the coming days or weeks.

For months AMA and other physicians' associations have called for a delay of the implementation date, saying that the switch from the old ICD-9 system to the far more granular ICD-10 represents an unfunded mandate that could cost medical practices between $82,000 and $2.7 million to install.

In November, the AMA's house of delegates voted to "vigorously work to stop the implementation" of the "onerous" implementation of ICD-10."

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