May 2—The switchover to ICD-10 codes for HIPAA-compliant entities will occur Oct. 1, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced this week.

A one-year delay from the previously planned Oct. 1, 2014, implementation of ICD-10 was required by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, which was enacted April 1. However, the law also gave the HHS secretary discretion to take longer than October 2015 to implement the switch.

An HHS issued a May 1 statement that the department plans to release rules “in the near future” on details of the switchover.

The Coalition for ICD-10, an alliance of hospitals, health plans, professional associations, coding experts, and vendors, requested in April that HHS require the switch in October 2015 because “implementation costs will continue to increase considerably with every year of a delay.”

Further Details Emerge

Another unknown addressed in the brief announcement was that HHS rules will require continued use of ICD-9-CM until the new switchover date. Some healthcare entities had asked since enactment of the delay whether regulators would allow insurers and providers that are ready for the switchover to begin using ICD-10 before the implementation date.

Among the additional details sought by healthcare entities that were left unclarified by the announcement was whether HHS would allow the use of dual coding in preparation for the switchover.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also announced May 2 that it was delaying until sometime in 2015 planned July end-to-end testing between a sample group of providers and Medicare Administrative Contractors. CMS agreed to the testing after months of requests by healthcare advocacy groups concerned that problems would arise from the switch to the new codes.


Rich Daly is a senior writer/editor in HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office. Follow Rich on Twitter @rdalyhealthcare.

Publication Date: Friday, May 02, 2014