Meanwhile Cheryl Ericson, MS, RN, clinical documentation improvement education director for HCPro Inc, points out, "This gives everyone an opportunity to slow down, take a deep breath."
"Most organizations should maintain their current course of progress so that coders become fluent in ICD-10. This just gives everyone extra time for improvement and gives us greater opportunities to recognize weaknesses in documentation," she says.
She notes that the 2013 compliance deadline was going to be tight for most organizations, but the delay will give everyone time to consider dual coding prior to implementation. "Take this as a blessing in disguise. Train your staff members and get them comfortable so that when the transition does come, it won’t be as stressful," Ericson says.
Rose T. Dunn, MBA, RHIA, CPA, FACHE, chief operating officer of First Class Solutions, Inc. in Maryland Heights, Mo., and former president, board member, and interim CEO of AHIMA, is disappointed that CMS is delaying a full year and would have preferred only a six-month postponement. "I’d continue to encourage providers to prepare for ICD-10 at a calmer pace and take advantage of spreading the cost of implementation over another year," she says.
To comment on the proposed rule, visit www.regulations.gov. Comments are due within 30 days of publication in the Federal Register. The rule is due to publish in the April 17 edition of the Federal Register.
Editor’s note: For more information, view the related Fact Sheet. A display copy of the proposed rule is available at www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-08718_PI.pdf. The original announcement of a potential delay came in a February 16 press release.