ICD-10 compliance date delay confirmed

It’s official. The compliance date for HIPAA covered entities to use the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes will be pushed further out than Oct. 1, 2013. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued an announcement Feb. 16 confirming the postponement. Sebelius attributed the delay, in part, to “President Obama’s commitment to reducing regulatory burden.

The final rule adopting ICD-10 as a standard was published in January 2009. The final rule set forth the Oct. 1, 2013 compliance date – a delay of two years from the compliance date initially specified in the 2008 proposed rule.

So why the further delay?

“ICD-10 codes are important to many positive improvements in our healthcare system,” said Sebelius in her prepared statement. “We have heard from many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead. We are committing to work with the provider community to reexamine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our health care system.”

HHS said it would announce a new compliance date moving forward. However, the revised date remains a matter of speculation.

“My opinion is that CMS won't be able to announce three months or six months of delay for ICD-10,” Mike Arrigo, CEO of consultancy No World Borders, told Government Health IT (GHIT). “They will need to announce a delay from October 1, 2013 to at least October 1, 2014 because of CMS fiscal planning calendars.”

Others in the industry are suggesting that even one year is not enough to lighten the burden on physicians, providers and payers enough to make the transition smoother, noted GHIT Editor Tom Sullivan.

“I have a gut feeling they’ll go for two years, who knows?” added Steve Sisko, an analyst and technology consultant focused on payers and ICD-10. “Maybe January 2015?”

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