Friday Aug. 24, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a rule finalizing a one-year proposed delay – from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014 – in the compliance date for use of ICD-10 codes, which classify diseases and health problems.
These code sets, known as the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes, will include codes for new procedures and diagnoses that improve the quality of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes.
In a written summary of the final rule, HHS wrote: "We believe the change in the compliance date for ICD-10 gives covered health care providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition by all covered entities."
"We are allowing more time for covered entities to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 and to conduct thorough testing. By allowing more time to prepare, covered entities may be able to avoid costly obstacles that would otherwise emerge while in production," the HHS writes.
The rule announced today also establishes a unique health plan identifier (HPID). The rule is one of a series of changes required by the Affordable Care Act to cut red tape in the health care system and, according to government officials, will save up to $6 billion over ten years.
“These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients,” Secretary Sebelius said.
Today's rule is the fourth administrative simplification regulation issued by HHS under the health reform law.
These rules will go into effect on November 5, 2012.