Sebelius Delays ICD-10 Indefinitely

Texas Medical Association advocacy paid off again as U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced Feb. 16 that physicians will not have to begin using the new ICD-10 coding system next year. ICD-10 codes were to take effect Oct 1. 2013, but Secretary Sebelius said that is delayed until an unspecified date.

She called the ICD-10 codes "important to many positive improvements in our health care system," but said HHS had "heard from many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead. We are committing to work with the provider community to reexamine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our health care system."

Two days earlier, Acting Centers for Medicare &  Medicaid Services (CMS) Director Marilyn Tavenner said CMS would "re-examine the timeframe" for physicians to begin using ICD-10 coding system. "There's concern that folks cannot get their work done around meaningful use, their work around ICD-10 implementation and be ready for exchanges," Ms. Tavenner said at an American Medical Association advocacy conference. "So we're trying to listen to that and be responsive."

" I am thrilled that folks are listening," said Joseph Schneider, MD, chair of the TMA Committee on Health Information and chief medical information officer and medical director of clinical information at Baylor Health Care System in Dallas. "There are other, better ways to do this other than to go to a system that's 30 years old."

TMA delegates to AMA convinced the AMA House of Delegates in November to go on record opposing implementation of ICD-10. At TMA insistence, the AMA adopted a resolution asking AMA to "immediately petition the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to stop implementation and development of all new coding and billing standards including ICD-10."

AMA delegates voted to "vigorously work to stop the implementation of ICD-10 and to reduce its unnecessary and significant burdens on the practice of medicine," and to "work with other national and state medical and informatics associations to assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9."

The current ICD-9 coding system has some 14,000 codes, but ICD-10 will include nearly 70,000 codes. For example, ICD-10 has 480 different codes alone for a fractured patella. It is estimated that ICD-10 implementation will cost $83,000 per doctor for a three-physician practice and $28,500 per physician for a 10-doctor practice.

TMA is prepared, even if CMS ultimately goes ahead with ICD-10. TMA is committed to educational efforts to help physicians and their staff begin using ICD-10 successfully. Before CMS announced a delay, TMA developed a seminar series that begins in March.

Physicians who sign up for "ICD-10 Essentials" will receive help from TMA's coding experts to:

  • Understand the foundation and background of ICD-10;
  • Learn the ICD-10 documentation requirements for increased code specificity;
  • Realize how ICD-10 will impact all aspects of their practice, and
  • Create "role-based" training sessions for your physicians and staff.

As a bonus each registrant will receive a one-time discount on the Simple Solutions GEMs Translator. This downloadable tool will help you quickly and easily identify which ICD-10 codes replace the ICD-9 codes you use now. You can easily search by code or code description, create a favorites list, and develop and print a quick reference list. The retail price is $129. The seminar attendee price is $99.

For more information, visit or call (800) 880-7955.

Action, Feb. 15, 2012

Last Updated On

May 31, 2016

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