Retire ICD-9 Before it Turns 40

Scott Mace, May 6, 2014

ICD-9, envisioned in 1975 and oblivious to all that has occurred in the ensuing 39 years of medicine, needs to go. Everyone in healthcare knows it.


Peanuts


This weekend, in a park in Palo Alto, California, TCP/IP will have its 40th birthday party. The communications protocol that undergirds the Internet is just a few years younger than ICD-9, the ninth revision of the International Classification of Diseases.

ICD-9, envisioned in 1975 and oblivious to all that has occurred in the ensuing 39 years of medicine, needs to go. Everyone in healthcare knows it. Last week, CMS once again tried to put a stake in the ground, announcing its intent to publish a rule that implements ICD-10 for billing codes on October 1, 2015.

And yet, at the same time, CMS called off long-planned ICD-10 testing over the summer to let providers, billing companies, and clearinghouses a chance to see if CMS can accept their ICD-10-coded claims even though numerous providers want the testing to go forward as scheduled, and extended to a much wider range of participants.

The whole thing resembles that classic Peanuts comic strip where Lucy invites Charlie Brown to kick the football, only to snatch it away at the last minute, leaving poor Chuck flat on the ground in pain.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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