The Protecting Access to Medicare Act, which was signed in to law by President Obama on April 1, 2014, delays the U.S. migration to ICD-10 by at least a year.
The rapidly-introduced seven-line addition to the law that extends the ICD-10 deadline to at least October 1, 2015 will come as disappointing news to many whom have invested significant time and money in preparing for the ICD-10 transition. While this is an understandable reaction, WPC believes that this latest ICD-10 delay, if approached purposefully, serves to reduce if not avoid ICD-10 risks while maintaining momentum and protecting investments already made.
This delay leaves open a little longer the proverbial window of opportunity to fully prepare. Recognizing that the migration to ICD-10 presents many risks for healthcare organizations, this additional time enables organizations to shift their approach from narrowly-focused remediation to further-reaching risk management. WPC recommends organizations seize this opportunity by using the additional time to complete a quality remediation phase as well as to execute a thorough risk management plan to minimize the transition impact.
More specifically, the delay creates an opportunity to increase readiness by:
- Using documentation and code audits to drive targeted education and clinical documentation improvements
- Implementing improved coding processes and systems
- Automating and enhancing billing and other administrative processes
- Engaging trading partners for increased end-to-end testing that ensures a more successful migration for everyone
Delaying the shift to ICD-10 does not reduce the size or magnitude of this significant industry-wide effort. However, it provides a previously unavailable opportunity to reduce the probability of realizing risks associated with this change.