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Possible ICD-10 Delay Nets Widespread Physician Support

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 15, 2012

"There are so many physicians who we need to move along the path of getting on to electronic health records. Now we are adding this burden. Plus you hear about budget cuts that are going to affect physicians and hospitals reimbursements. So the timing just doesn't seem right to be piling on all of these initiatives."

McNutt says she believes the ICD-10 implementation should be delayed until 2015 "to give ACOs, bundled payment models, and Meaningful Use Stage 2, a chance to gel. To me that would be ideal."

However, Wendy Whittington, MD,  CMO at Dallas-based HIT provider  Anthelio Healthcare Solutions called any effort to delay ICD-10 implementation "a bad idea."

"How can organizations be good at strategic planning if the rules keep changing," Whittington says. "A lot of proponents of putting this off are citing the fact that we are all too busy with meaningful use to deal with ICD-10. I see that as exactly the reason why we should take the deadline seriously."

"When you are thoughtful about strategic planning and you do things the right way and not just to collect the incentives you may have already been incorporating where ICD-10 is going to fit into all of this," she says. "Really, what we are doing by changing the rules mid-game is punishing those who have been thoughtfully been thinking through how to do this."

The possibility of a delay also concerns leadership at the American Health Information Management Association. In a statement issued Tuesday, AHIMA's vice president for advocacy and policy, Dan Rode, said, "any delay in the transition preparation for ICD-10 will both increase actual costs and may diminish the value of other Health and Human Services programs, including Meaningful Use.”

For the most part, however, hospital CIOs who spoke with HealthLeaders Media say they support the delay.

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