ICD-10 Transition Gets a Thumbs Up From the Legislators

During a congressional hearing recently, various legislators agreed that no further delays should occur in implementing the ICD-10 coding system for Medicare payments. Six out of seven healthcare officials who testified were in agreement, and the lone dissenter was a doctor apprehensive that most private practice physicians are not yet prepared. To learn more, check out the video and statement of the hearing.

The ICD-10 transition is currently set to take effect on Oct. 1, 2015 following three postponements, two administrative and one legislative. The chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), said, “We need to end the uncertainty.”

According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, CMS appears to be on track to meet ICD-10 deadlines. In response, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, issued a joint statement signifying that they believe the federal agency is prepared.

Why GAO thinks that CMS is on Track?

According to GAO, the CMS has completed all ICD-10 changes necessary for its Medicare fee-for-service claims processing systems, engaged in outreach and also tracked stakeholders’ readiness. Apart from that, CMS has been monitoring state agencies’ preparedness for the transition and offered technical support to state Medicaid agencies.

However, GAO has also pointed out that “it is not yet known whether any changes might be necessary based upon the agency’s ongoing external testing activities.” Additionally, GAO states that while CMS has worked with state Medicaid systems to prepare for the ICD-10 transition, “in many states, work remains to complete testing by the transition deadline.”

Apart from that, the American Hospital Association (AHA), published a statement strongly supporting the Oct. 1, 2015 ICD-10 compliance date and opposed any steps to delay this implementation date.

“In order to achieve a successful transition to ICD-10, the entire healthcare community–hospitals, physicians, payers, clearinghouses and government agencies–must stop debating the value of ICD-10 and take the needed actions to implement it successfully,” AHA said.

The message is loud and clear, another ICD-10 delay looks improbable. If you are not taking the upcoming compliance date seriously you could be putting your revenue at risk. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started with training. Check out AudioEducator’s specialty-specific ICD-10 conferences to prepare coders and physicians for more specific coding options. At AudioEducator, physician training is available in 24 specialties.

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