Physicians Have Breathing Room on ICD-10 Readiness

Compliance Date Moved to October 2014

August 29, 2012 04:40 pm News Staff

It's official. The compliance date for the ICD-10-CM code set for outpatient diagnosis coding is Oct. 1, 2014 -- exactly one year later than originally designated by HHS.

That's according to a recently released administrative simplification final rule that currently is being displayed online prior to its scheduled publication in the Sept. 5 Federal Register.

According to an Aug. 24 HHS press release(www.hhs.gov), ICD-10 will include codes for new procedures and diagnoses that enhance the breadth of information available for quality improvement and payment purposes. However, in light of the administrative and financial burden the transition will place on family physicians -- particularly those who run small practices -- the Academy had urged HHS to extend the original deadline to give physicians more time to prepare.

AAFP President Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I, of Spokane, Wash., said in a media statement that he was pleased with the one-year reprieve and that the action was proof HHS listened to and carefully considered the Academy's concerns.

"We advocated for such a delay on behalf of our members, most of whom are working tirelessly to implement multiple Medicare incentive and penalty programs while also engaging in new delivery and payment models," said Stream.

He noted that the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will explode the number of diagnosis codes available to physicians from more than 13,000 codes to more than 68,000 codes. Stream said the AAFP is continuing to develop ICD-10 resources to help members make the transition.

"The transition will require months of planning and execution" on the part of our physicians and their staff members, said Stream.

The just-released rule also

  • adopts standards for a national unique health plan identifier,
  • establishes a data element that will serve to identify entities other than health plans, health care professionals or individuals that need to be identified in electronic transactions, and
  • specifies an addition to the national provider identifier (NPI) number requirements related to health care professionals who have prescribing privileges but who previously were not required to have an NPI number.

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