ICD-10 Switchover Postponed

February 3, 2009
Special Feature

In the wake of thousands of complaints from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and health insurers, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has pushed back the deadline for changing from the current ICD-9 medical coding system to the new ICD-10 codes.

In the wake of thousands of complaints from doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and health insurers, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has pushed back the deadline for changing from the current ICD-9 medical coding system to the new ICD-10 codes.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that healthcare providers now have until October 1, 2013, to switch to the new codes, giving physicians and others a 2-year reprieve from the previous deadline of October 1, 2011. At the same time, CMS also pushed back the date for implementation of new HIPAA transaction standards, which must be in place before the ICD-10 codes can be adopted. The HHS deadline for the HIPAA standards is now January 1, 2012.

The new ICD-10 coding system has been hailed as a necessary step to keep up with the advances in medical treatment. The new system has more than 10 times as many codes as the current ICD-9 coding system, allowing doctors to describe treatments and procedures more accurately. A recent study commissioned by the Medical Group Management Association, however, shows that adopting the new codes would cost a medium-sized, 10-doctor practice more than $285,000, while a large 100-doctor practice would face a price tag of more than $2.7 million. According to CMS’s own estimates, implementing the new ICD-10 codes will cost providers almost $3 billion, including expenses incurred after the implementation deadline.