That leaves the open-ended possibility, for the moment, that for some inscrutable reason, CMS could opt to select a new cutover date later than October 1, 2015. The mere possibility of this has the entire healthcare IT industry trapped in a kind of limbo.
That is not good for ICD-10 or for healthcare.
For further perspective, last week I spoke with two consultants who advise providers on ICD-10-related matters.
It Gets Worse
The first reminded me that healthcare providers have set their upgrade and implementation schedules around the October 2014 schedule. But they are also at the mercy of software vendors who have planned to release upgrades to their programs in bundles.
Software does not respect neat boundaries between things programmed to implement ICD-10 and other enhancements, so the possibility exists that software vendors are prepared to deliver new versions of all sorts of systems this year that have ICD-10 implemented by default.
Those same software vendors are expecting providers to honor contracts they have signed to pay for and accept software that implements ICD-10 this year, not next year.