AHIMA continues push for no delay in ICD-10 adoption

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) wants healthcare providers to adopt ICD-10 as quickly as possible, even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposes delaying the compliance deadline for one year, until Oct. 1, 2014.

“Our preference is for no delay in ICD-10 implementation and compliance,” said AHIMA’s CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, “but we are gratified that HHS is recognizing the hard work and efforts already expended in the implementation process and has decided to keep the extension to essentially the shortest period possible – just one year.” In February, HHS announced its plan to re-examine the timetable for ICD-10 implementation.  A pre-publication notice in the Federal Register indicates that the new deadline will be Oct. 1, 2014.

Thomas Gordon also noted that AHIMA’s call for HIPAA covered entities to continue their ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation was justified when looking at the HHS analysis.

“The transition to ICD-10 is inevitable and remains the future for coding classification systems.  We are sorry to see that our members and organizations following HHS’ initial calendar may suffer from the delay, as will our many higher education colleges and universities that changed their curricula to meet this same requirement date.”

Gordon said AHIMA understands the pressures many small providers and practices have in meeting the current requirements. However, a continued delay and uncertainty in the implementation date is in no one’s best interest, she said.

“Further delays in our nation’s efforts to implement electronic health records and information exchange will only increase costs in the long run and result in lost benefits from having health information available where and when it is needed,” said Gordon.

“AHIMA and its component state organizations will continue to be a valuable and comprehensive resource in providing assistance to small providers, practices and others that need support in implementation and training necessary to achieve full compliance,” she added.

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