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San Francisco Marin Medical Society Blog

HHS Delays ICD-10 Coding to October 2014

ICD-10The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) postponed the use of ICD-10 diagnostic codes until October 1, 2014.

The 1-year delay comes in response to complaints by organized medicine about the administrative burden of converting to ICD-10. SFMS, CMA, AMA, and other medical societies told HHS that converting to the more voluminous and complicated set of diagnostic codes could cost medical practices tens of thousands of dollars and interfere with their migration to electronic health records and electronic prescribing.

ICD-10 stands for the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandated the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 as part of implementing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). HHS considers ICD-9 outdated and imprecise.

ICD-10 contains 68,000 diagnosis codes, which is roughly 5 times the number in ICD-9. The new codes also run to a maximum of 7 characters compared with 5 in the current codes.

HHS also announced establishing a standard format for health plan identifier (HPID) codes that is designed to simplify billing for clinicians and hospitals. Identifiers for health plans now in use differ in format, and that variety invites errors, leading to misrouted transactions, rejected claims, and problems determining patient eligibility, according to HHS. The department estimates that implementing a standard HPID will save the healthcare industry up to $6 billion over the course of 10 years.

Click here for more information on the HHS announcement.

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