HHS Hands Down New ICD-10 Deadline

Mike Milliard | Government Health IT | August 1, 2014

Everyone paying attention to ICD-10 timing knew this was coming, it was only a matter of when. And late Thursday the Department of Health and Human Services posted a final rule declaring Oct. 1, 2015 the compliance deadline.  The rule, to appear in Monday’s edition of the Federal Register, is more of a formality than anything else, since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on May 1 in a rule of its own foreshadowed the final rule from HHS.

Four months ago, the U.S. Senate voted in favor of – and President Barack Obama soon signed – the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. Primarily meant to forestall cuts in Medicare payment rates for physicians, the bill also contained a little-debated component, of mysterious provenance, that called for delaying ICD-10 implementation until 2015 at the earliest.

For an industry that had been working near-feverishly to prepare for a deadline later this fall, on Oct. 1, 2014, this development came as something of a surprise, throwing the plans of countless healthcare organizations back into flux as the certainty of an approaching deadline vanished.  Well, here we are. The hope, of course, is that all these extra months will allow the industry, especially physician practices, "ample time to prepare for change," CMS noted, helping them implement and test the necessary systems and processes to ensure a smooth transition next fall...