The federal government has extended the compliance deadline for a nationwide conversion to ICD-10 code sets. The new deadline—Oct. 1, 2014—gives healthcare organizations an additional year to prepare for the changeover.
The rule is one of a series of changes required by the Affordable Care Act to cut red tape in the healthcare system. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, it will save up to $6 billion over 10 years.
“These new standards are a part of our efforts to help providers and health plans spend less time filling out paperwork and more time seeing their patients,” said Kathleen Sebelius, HHS Secretary, in a statement.
The ICD-10 code sets—short for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition—sets unique identifiers for healthcare procedures and diagnoses. Currently, healthcare plans may use a variety of identifiers that don’t have a standard format. This leads to time-consuming problems, such as misrouting of transactions, rejection of transactions, and difficulties in determining patient eligibility. A single identifier will streamline things—and improve data quality, the HHS says.
The rule is the fourth administrative simplification regulation issued by HHS under the health reform law:
• On July 8, 2011, HHS adopted operating rules for two electronic health care transactions to make it easier for healthcare providers to determine whether a patient is eligible for coverage and the status of a health care claim submitted to a health insurer. The rules will save up to $12 billion over ten years.
• On Jan. 10, 2012, HHS adopted standards for the health care electronic funds transfers (EFT) and remittance advice transaction between health plans and health care providers. The standards will save up to $4.6 billion over ten years.
• On Aug. 10, 2012, HHS published an IFC that adopted operating rules for the health care EFT and electronic remittance advice transaction. The operating rules will save up to $4.5 billion over 10 years.