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ICD-10 Delay Doesn't Address Procedural Hurdles, Critics Say

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 10, 2012

The federal government's proposed rule that would delay for one year the implementation date for ICD-10 buys providers more time but does nothing to address underlying procedural problems that could wreak havoc when the diagnostic code set eventual goes live, one observer says.

"Yes, an additional year is going to be helpful. But it doesn't solve the underlying flaws in the current process," says Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor with Medical Group Management Association.

"Additional time only gets us to where we are now a year later. Our position all along has been the process itself is flawed. They never did a pilot. We need staggered implementation dates to build in the specific testing period."

If finalized, the one-year delay, detailed in CMS's proposed rule , means that ICD-10 standard would become effective Oct. 1, 2014.

"Many provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the Oct. 1, 2013, compliance date," HHS said in an April 9 press release . "The proposed change in the compliance date for ICD-10 would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition to these new code sets."

Federal officials had hinted in February that a delay was in the making, so the news Monday did not surprise key provider groups that had raised concerns about the pace of implementation.

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