Home From The Editor Delaying ICD-10: good or bad news?

Delaying ICD-10: good or bad news?

May 2014

Published in the May 2014 issue of Today’s Hospitalist.

Did hospital medicine catch a break when legislators recently delayed the implementation of ICD-10 until at least 2015?

The law did more than push back the rollout of ICD-10. Legislators also temporarily rescinded scheduled Medicare cuts in physician pay, and they delayed enforcement of the much-discussed two-midnight rule.

But for many in health care, delaying the implementation of ICD-10 got the most attention. Hospitals, after all, have spent years and untold amounts of money preparing for the transition.

As our story explains, the delay has left many hospitals wondering how “and whether “to get ready for ICD-10. If hospitals do nothing and ICD-10 does take effect in 2015, they won’t be ready for the conversion. But hospitals don’t want to prepare for another deadline that may be pushed back again at the last minute.

The delay leaves hospitals in a bind, but it may be good news for hospitalists, and here’s why. It will provide more time to better prepare not only for ICD-10, but for what may be a coming spike in patient volumes.

At about the same time legislators passed the delay in ICD-10 implementation, the Obama administration announced that seven million Americans (a number later upped to eight million) had enrolled in Obamacare. As states like Massachusetts have demonstrated, expanding access to care can produce a sharp increase in the number of patients seeking medical care.

With many of those individuals headed to a hospital, the next six months could be a busy time for hospitalists, so holding off on ICD-10 may be welcome. Whether you think the ICD-10 delay is good or bad news, it might be wise to use this extra time to make sure that your hospital “and your group “are ready for the transition.

edoyleEdward Doyle
Editor & Publisher