HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced that the agency intends to delay implementation of the ICD-10-CM code set for outpatient diagnosis coding.
Family physicians, along with the entire U.S. health care industry, have been gearing up to meet the government's Oct. 1, 2013, deadline to move from ICD-9 to ICD-10, but, according to an HHS news release(www.hhs.gov), the agency will announce a new compliance date sometime in the future.
"We have heard from many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead," said Sebelius in the release. "We are committing to work with the provider community to re-examine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our health care system."
According to resources the AAFP developed to assist members in making the transition, the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will increase the number of diagnosis codes from about 14,000 to 69,000.
AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I., of Spokane, Wash., told AAFP News Now, "I'm very encouraged that Secretary Sebelius has chosen to delay implementation of ICD-10. The AAFP has advocated on behalf of our members for a deadline extension because of the financial and administrative burden this transition places on all physicians and, particularly, those working in small practices.
"Any additional time granted by HHS will allow the Academy to provide more help to members as they prepare for this big change in their practices."