On Monday, March 31, the Senate voted to pass a bill that would patch the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and delay ICD-10 until October 2015. The bill now moves to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. While many physicians support the delay of ICD-10, the health IT community isn’t comfortable with pushing the deadline any further.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has been very vocal about the delay. Their president, Lynn Thomas Gordon, argues that another delay for the implementation of ICD-10 will put the United States behind other nations. All of the other industrialized nations are already using ICD-10 to improve their quality of care. The longer we wait, the more we’ll fall behind.
There will always be an excuse to push back the deadline, but these excuses will only postpone the inevitable. Much of the burden of another delay will fall on practice owners. Practices that are unprepared for the changes ahead have another year to get organized, while practices that have worked tirelessly to meet the October 1, 2014 deadline will not be rewarded for their efforts.
AHIMA officials have stated that they will work to clarify any questions about the delay and they’ll continue to work with government officials to implement ICD-10 as quickly and effectively as possible.
Author: Lauren Daniels