CMS finally confirms official coding deadline

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced late last week that October 1, 2015, is officially the new transition date for the International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision (ICD-10) coding system in healthcare claims.

After reaffirming several times that there would not be a delay in implementing the ICD-10 coding system, CMS agreed to delay the transition as part of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act, a bill passed by Congress to delay the mandatory application of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula to Medicare physician payments. 

Since the announcement of the delay, there has been much debate about whether or not to continue with double coding or extensive staff and physician training. Healthcare providers have already seen significant cost increases due to preparation efforts to meet the original October 1, 2014 transition date and many were skeptical about continuing to incurr the additional training costs without an official transition date, confirmed by CMS.

In the press release announcing the new deadline, CMS offered assurances that it and other payors would be ready and that it expected that the new deadline would give healthcare providers amble time to get ready as well.  “CMS has implemented a comprehensive testing approach, including end-to-end testing in 2015, to help ensure providers are ready. While many providers, including physicians, hospitals, and health plans, have completed the necessary system changes to transition to ICD-10, the time offered by Congress and this rule ensure all providers are ready,” the CMS release assured.