This week, the DHSS announced proposed rule changes to HIPAA that "would save health care providers and health plans up to $4.6 billion over the next ten years," according to a statement.
But the big news is that the rule changes will also move back the deadline for integration with the ICD-10 disease classification codes and standards by another year. The rules are intended to give some reassurances to providers who feared they would be unable to meet the original deadline, which was set for this October, but they will also leave room for the DHSS to toss in additional code changes, which it has promised will happen.
Kim Snyder, Director of Corporate Coding at Zotec Partners of Carmel, IN says the delays in ICD-10 can be attributed in large part to lessons learned from HIPAA-5010 compliance issues.
"CMS was just trying to avoid the same thing happening," she says. "The industry just didn’t anticipate that it could cope with the change. It really is going to be an enormous transition test."
The potential pitfalls notwithstanding, she says, CMS simply will not be able to realize true electronic health records (EHR) without ICD-10 terminology and classification.
"There are more considerations about the amount of resources it’s going to take for governmental oversight, and I think that is part of the discussion," Snyder says. "I think that we are very sensitive to the governmental burdens and we are taking a breath to reconsider what that may potentially look like."
In the end, she summarizes, no change can come without the understanding that it requires adjustment. All the apprehension will soon be forgotten once the new system actually gets underway.
"I think it’s important to stay the course," she says. "Change is not easy. We’re a comfortable society. We like being comfortable, and I think that’s it’s stretching us to the limit a bit."