Could ICD-10 be Delayed to 2017?

As a medical billing instructor, I am frequently asked by my students about the news regarding ICD-10 implementation being pushed back another 2 years.  Unfortunately, the truth is that the Texas branch of the American Medical Association is asking its nearly 50,000 members  to write to congress asking for a delay in implementation of ICD-10 to 2017.  The main opponents to ICD-10 implementation are physican groups. They feel that implementation will cost them in time and money to implement the changes.  The other problem is that ICD-11 is set to appear in 2017 from World Health Organization.  Will The USA just skip over ICD-10 implementation and go straight for ICD-11. Some people think this well may be the case, unfortunately.  So far, ICD-10 implementation is still set to October 2015.

ICD 10 Online Coding Courses at CCO | August 2015
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Could ICD-10 Be Delayed to 2017? Not quite yet…

The question this issue brings up for medical coding and billing students is– Will my ICD-10 training be valid when I graduate if the date continues to be pushed back? I can certainly understand the anxiety of the new medical billing student wondering if they are training for something that may never implement or won’t implement for several years AFTER they complete their training.

Here is how I view the situation. As medical coders and billers we are constantly learning about changing and  new laws, regulations, compliance issues, payer rules, etc. The issue of ICD-10 implementation is no different. There is always some flux in an ever-growing and changing industry. Go with the flow not against it is my recommendation. It is wise for medical billing and coding students to train in ICD-10 at this point in time. Medical billing students should have cursory training in medical coding, not an in-depth training. They can always pick up more medical coding training if they wish a deeper knowledge. ICD-9 and ICD-10 are very similar in nature. The numbering system is different. There are some differences in guidelines, and of course, ICD-10 has more specific code descriptions. However, basic medical coding procedure is the same and will remain the same.  In my opinion, training for what is up and coming is the best choice at this point in time. It is good right now to know ICD-9 and ICD-10 because remember we will be dealing with ICD-9 for a while after ICD-10 implementation anyway through audits.   Now, medical coders, at this point in time, should probably be well-trained in both ICD-9 and ICD-10. However, that is not a complicated process. There are tons of webinars and online training tools to assist in learning either set.

The USA is behind other countries in the implementation of ICD-10. Truly, it is time that we implement. Most medical coding and billing professionals and organizations are FOR the implementation.  The way to view this career choice is to understand that continuing your education, knowledge, and skill set will be mandatory for success. However, isn’t that part of the “draw” to become a medical coder and biller? Change can be viewed as stressful at times, but can also be challenging and fun.

By: Dawn Moreno, PhD, CPC, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years.  Interested in quality medical billing training?

Get More Details about ICD-10 CM Delay

Coding Certification – ICD 10 CM Delayed until October 1, 2015

AAPC – Legislation Proposed to Delay ICD 10 until 2017

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