The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced late Thursday that Oct. 1, 2015, is the new ICD-10 deadline date for providers and payers to transition to the new code set. The announcement, while expected, came after months of waiting.

The announcement reiterated CMS’ view that ICD-10 is needed by stating that  ICD-9-CM contains “outdated, obsolete terms that are inconsistent” with current medical practices, adding that ICD-10 represents “a significant change.”

Marilyn Tavenner, CMS Administrator, said in a statement that “ICD-10 codes will provide better support for patient care, and improve disease management, quality measurement and analytics.

“For patients under the care of multiple providers, ICD-10 can help promote care coordination,” Tavenner added.

The move to ICD-10 was delayed last spring when Congress unexpectedly added a measure postponing the transition to the legislation for a 12-month SGR patch, catching the industry by surprise. Industry leaders launched a last minute push on Twitter to avert the change, but to no avail. After the delay passed, multiple industry experts called for the deadline to be set no later than Oct. 1, 2015, so that the work done to date wouldn’t be wasted.

What do you do now?

As we have recommended in previous blog posts on the ICD-10 delay, we strongly recommend that practices continue preparing for the ICD-10 transition, simply slowing rather than stopping their plans. As we mentioned in that post, the steps we recommend include:

  1. Evaluate your original ICD-10 implementation plan or if you didn’t have one, make a plan now.
  2. Refocus provider ICD-10 training on clinical documentation improvement instead of ICD-10 coding.
  3. Implement dual coding so that your coders learn the code set as they are working.
  4. Review your vendors’ ICD-10 readiness to make sure they will be ready on time.

HealthFusion’s MediTouch® has been ICD-10 ready since December 2013, and we participated successfully in the March ICD-10 testing week. We will participate in the end-to-end testing when it is schedule.

To help you prepare for the transition, we have provided an ICD-10 reference section on our site, with:

Please use these references to help you with your training, and let us know what other resources we can provide. We look forward to helping you with a successful transition to ICD-10.