The comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for Stage 2 Meaningful Use
ended on May 7, 2012, amidst a flurry of last-minute commentary by major associations and organizations within the American healthcare industry. In a week’s time on May 17, another proposed rule will close its comments box — the proposed delay of the ICD-10
-CM and ICD-10-PCS (RIN: 0938-AQ13
) compliance date. In the April 17 rule, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) indicated that it would move the compliance deadline for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) from October 1, 2013, to October 1, 2014.
The proposed rule indicates that delays in meeting the compliance deadline for Associated Standard Committee’s (ASC) X12 Version 5010
standards (Version 5010) are partly to blame for the change. HHS is looking to both Version 5010 and ICD-10 to improve the business of healthcare and create standards in line with the medical industry worldwide.
What’s the point of soft deadlines? In a letter to the HHS Secretary and the Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS
), the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is asking both agencies to avoid delaying ICD-10 compliance
any further because of the potential effects it would have on the integrity of health information:
Until the ICD-10-CM/PCS code sets are implemented, US health data will continue to deteriorate, at a time when there is an increasing number of data-dependent healthcare initiatives aimed at improving value. The value of these initiatives will be diminished if the data output is represented by an antiquated code set.
AHIMA’s comments echo those of the National Committee for Quality Assurance
directed at Stage 2 Meaningful Use. If the nationwide push to upgrade and improve the healthcare industry is to be successful, all programs and initiatives striving toward this goal ought to work together rather than against one another.
It’s a simple premise that would have far-reaching benefits because “the success of meaningful use will not be achieved until ICD-10-CM/PCS is an integral part of the advancement in EHRs and exchange.” Upgrading healthcare infrastructure is worthless if the information that is exchanged isn’t up to snuff. In short, a “coordinated transformation” of US healthcare requires the “coordination of federal efforts.”
HHS has the leadership position to assist the industry in this full conversion, and must take the lead, along with the healthcare industry, in ensuring a coordinated transformation that recognizes the cost of conversion if all segments of the industry are not moving forward in a coordinated fashion.
The American healthcare industry will find it difficult to move forward with the business of efficiently and effectively helping patients until everyone first gets on the same page. For organizations that have spent considerable resources in preparing to comply with October 2013, they risk a return on investment in doing what’s mandated. In order for meaningful use to be more than rhetoric, all stakeholders need to put their money where their mouth is.
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