The deadline for ICD 10 implementation has been set to October 1, 2015. However, it seems that some providers are hoping to see this date changed again, as the deadline has already been extended twice.
According to government sources, the extension of date for ICD 10 transition was given so that the small providers would get enough time for ICD 10 preparation. However, the one-year gap may not be of much help for the providers to get more prepared for the transition. The Director of ICD 10 training and education for the American Academy of Professional Coders, Jacqueline J. Stack says, "Providers think if it has already been delayed once, it could be delayed again." He further adds, "If you give providers five more years, will they be any more ready than they are today? And the answer is: probably not."
Many are of the opinion that the changes in deadline has not helped much in ICD 10 transition but has in turn, affected the smooth flow of transition. Mary Givens, who is the product manager of healthcare reform at Quali facts Systems Inc says, "The constantly changing deadline for ICD10 implementation has largely caused a loss in momentum." She adds, “With healthcare reform creating so many other priorities for providers, including integrated care, outcomes measurement and meaningful use, most organizations decided to focus their time and resources on other projects with harder deadlines."
As the deadline for ICD 10 implementation changes, many of the behavioral healthcare organizations are changing their attention from ICD 10 preparation to other matters that are more important for them. This is because they expect yet another change of deadline and therefore, does not consider ICD 10 preparation and transition as a priority.
Now, it is clear that ICD 10 transition is inevitable and these organizations will not be able to put off the transition process forever. Therefore, experts say that it is advisable to initiate ICD 10 preparation and transition process with the deadline in mind. There are many advantages of going forward with the implementation process. For instance, if delays occur in ICD 10 transition, there could be many financial consequences. There could be many delays in receiving reimbursements if proper ICD 10 codes are not used or the claims might be flagged during the audits, which in turn could affect the cash flow.
Therefore, experts believe that behavioral health organizations that have not started ICD 10 transition process should immediately initiate it as it might take upto six months for the transition and adoption process.