With the approaching deadline for enactment of an SGR fix, the similarities to last year’s situation has not been lost on many people when it comes to the possibility that Congress will once again step in to delay the October 1, 2015 effective date for adoption and use of ICD-10 codes.
Officially, it is hard to find anyone in Washington, DC who isn’t advocating that everyone in the healthcare delivery system who is affected by the conversion to ICD-10, take all of the steps necessary to be ready for implementation on October 1st. To advise anything else would be irresponsible.
By the same token there’s a level of skepticism that is causing some folks to hedge their bets and put off any decision to spend time and resources on ICD-10 implementation until after Congress deals with the SGR issue at the end of March. That is an understandable position to take given the resources that an organization may need to devote to ICD-10 implementation that could be irretrievably lost if Congress steps in to delay ICD-10 again.
As was the case at this time last year, we are seeing no credible evidence that Congress intends to step in to delay the ICD-10 effective date. While those opposed to ICD-10 implementation remain opposed, the individuals, organizations and companies aligned in favor of moving ahead to ICD-10 have become visibly more engaged this year than last. Congress is more aware of the financial ramifications of another delay and, it seems apparent that many of the innovative payment models being developed will require ICD-10 coding as one of the foundational pillars.
ICD-10 proponents and ICD-10 agnostics are telling Congress and stakeholder groups opposed to ICD-10: No ICD-10, no payment reform; No payment reform, no savings; No savings, no SGR fix.