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ICD-10 Deadline Postponed, Sebelius Confirms

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 17, 2012

Sue Bowman, director of Coding Policy and Compliance at the American Health Information Management Association, told HealthLeaders Media that the delay "raises concerns."

"The need to replace ICD-9 and go to a better coding system is still out there and hasn't gone away," Bowman says. "Actually, the need for high-quality healthcare data has gotten bigger now with meaningful use and payment reform and value-based purchasing and ACOs and all the other initiatives."

Bowman says delaying implementation of ICD-10 will delay all of the other benefits of better healthcare data. "Until we have a better coding system we can't really have a better healthcare system and achieve the goals of all of these other initiatives because they all pretty much come down to better data," she says.  

Bowman says implementing ICD-10 alongside other looming initiatives such as bundled payments, electronic medical records, and accountable care organizations makes sense because "they all relate together."

"To separate them out and say 'this piece doesn't need to be done now' is somewhat shortsighted," she says. "They all link together and are interrelated in a way to promote value for healthcare both to improve the quality and costs. I don't think we are going to see the anticipated benefits of all of the other initiatives unless we move to a better coding system."

Tim Stettheimer, a Birmingham, AL-based Regional CIO for Ascension Health, told HealthLeaders Media that HHS's earlier decision to delay by 90 days the implementation of the 5010 HIPAA transaction standards signaled that federal officials understand the burdens hospitals face.

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