CMS will review its timeline for ICD-10 implementation, Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said at a conference hosted by the American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday morning.
The Obama administration has advocated the coding system as a way to improve medical diagnostics, but switching to the new coding system has sparked concern among physician groups.
According to the AMA, adopting the ICD-10 coding system would force physician offices to deal with about 68,000 codes and add as much as $2.7 million in annual operating costs to large offices.
Tavenner told the audience that she is "committing…to work with you to reexamine the pace at which we implement ICD-10," The Hill reports. She added to reporters that CMS would formally announce its intention to craft new regulations "within the next few days."
However, Tavenner's pledge to "re-examine" ICD-10's timeline does not equate to officially moving the date, the Advisory Board's Mike Davis told the Briefing.
Davis noted that CMS provided a "30-day enforcement extension" for the v5010 EDI deadline, and the agency may offer a similar extension for organizations "who are now realizing the extent of impact of ICD-10 on both clinical and financial operations, and are ill-prepared to make the transition date."
Meanwhile, Government Health IT's Tom Sullivan writes that "it’s incredibly unlikely that Tavenner or CMS would actually stop ICD-10 in its tracks, for a whole host of political reasons." According to Sullivan, CMS could face lawsuits, given that many providers and payers have already spent millions preparing for the new coding system.
According to the Advisory Board's Davis, organizations should continue moving forward with the ICD-10 transition preparation; "any time extension will benefit the organizations for providing a longer ICD-10 testing period with their payers," he added (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 2/14 [subscription required]; Pequet, The Hill, 2/14; Sullivan, Government Health IT, 2/14).