Many healthcare providers have been asking about whether or not CMS would extend the ICD-10 deadline, but the agency has stood firm by its October 1, 2014 deadline. However, the agency has recognized that healthcare.gov should have been overseen by a systems integrator, so they may give a “hardship exemption.” This is not something that is etched in stone, but it is a possibility.
The hardship exemption would be available to facilities throughout Massachusetts and the U.S. who have not been able to achieve Meaningful Use 2. This is something that was reiterated during a brief Q&A with attendees at HIMSS14 on February 27.
A keynote speaker with HIMSS stated that there will be no further delays, so the system will go live on October 1, 2014. Due to the fact that not every provider will be afforded the “hardship exemption,” it is very important to get ready. Officials have said that the implementation of IDC-10 has already been delayed a number of times, making it time to move on without further delays.
A Standard in the Rest of the World
IDC-10 is a standard that has been established throughout the rest of the world, which is why it is important that the U.S. catch up. Healthcare consulting services have been helping physicians with the transition, making it much easier than it would be otherwise. For individual practices and facilities that are already stretched thin, consultancy companies in Massachusetts and throughout the country have become an asset.
To up the ante, CMS will not be offering a 90-day window where both ICD-9 and ICD-10 will be operating at the same time. This is something that many IT professionals have requested. The fear of IT professionals is that hospitals won’t receive their Medicaid or Medicare payments on time.
To avoid any delays in payment, health care consulting services are working diligently with physicians and their staff to ensure compliance as soon as possible. While IT professionals say that a three-month window would be reasonable due to the amount of data that comes packaged with ICD-10, it simply isn’t going to happen. Some IT professionals have said a 3-month window would be better than what they feel is a deadline that that they are creeping up on quickly.
One CMS health insurance specialist was recorded as saying that an extension would be unfeasible because it would require CMS to run two systems instead of just one. She said that CMS has been ready for ICD-10 since October of 2013.
Moving Closer to Achieving Meaningful Use
With the help of healthcare consultancy companies, Massachusetts has seen healthcare providers inching closer to achieving Meaningful Use. This is a trend that has been seen throughout the entire country with more than 60 percent of healthcare providers and 80 percent of hospitals achieving Meaningful Use. To date, CMS has paid nearly $21 billion for professionals and hospitals to be in compliance. Each month, the government is seeing around 300,000 new Medicare enrollees each month.
In addition, more than half of the Medicare Advantage members are choosing plans with at least four stars, which underscores the importance of engagement and quality. It also shows why it is valuable to have a fully operational and integrated website that is easily navigable. That is something that Healthcare.gov was not in its early days, but it has come a long way since its flawed launch. CMS does recognize that it should have hired a third party systems integrator to begin with, but they didn’t realize they needed one from the start. It is these issues that occurred in 2013 that IT professionals are using as their basis for CMS making a 90-day window available.
Again, it is important for healthcare providers, hospitals, and others who have yet to achieve Meaningful Use to realize that this window will most likely not be opened.
What the Future Holds
The future has much in store with national exchanges coming soon, according to the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. It has been stated that there is a need for a national record. A national record would enable better research, better care, and better management of the health of the population. This has led to the development of the Physician Sunshine system, which will be launched in the fall of 2014. This, in addition to ICD-10 implementation, will give physicians better tools to provide better care. As for now, healthcare consulting services in MA and beyond are working toward ensuring compliance as early as possible ahead of the deadline so that everyone is ready for the change and can get on board with the rest of the world.
To get your office or facility ready for the ICD-10 transition, MD Pro Solutions can help you. Call us today at (508) 946-1665, toll free at (800) 853-8110, or visit our contact page.