• Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is Considering Extending its Timeline for ICD-10 Code Conversion Compliance

    Wednesday February 15, 2012

    Healthcare providers could get some regulatory deadline relief soon. The acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said today the agency is considering extending its timeline for ICD-10 code conversion compliance.

    Under current ICD-10 rules, healthcare providers, payers, and others have until Oct. 1, 2013 to switch over their claims, billing, and other systems from current ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes for medical diagnosis and inpatient procedures. The transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 involves expanding medical diagnosis codes from the current 14,000 to more than 67,000, and procedure codes from 13,000 to 85,000.

    Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a conference of the American Medical Association (AMA) that her agency could delay adoption of the ICD-10 system. Current law calls for physicians to adopt the new codes next year.

    "I'm committing today to work with you to re-examine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," she said to loud applause. "I want to work together to ensure that we implement ICD-10 in a way that [meets its] goals while recognizing your concerns."

    Critics - including the AMA - say switching to ICD-10 coding will require doctors' offices to deal with some 68,000 codes, more than five times the current 13,000. The change, according to the AMA, would cost medical practices anywhere between $83,290 and more than $2.7 million, depending on size.

    Speaking to reporters after her prepared remarks, Tavenner said her office would formally announce its intention to craft new regulations "within the next few days."

    LTC Provider University will provide updates when they become available.

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