Is that how everyone is feeling about the ICD-10 delays? Well, that’s how I’m feeling. We almost got within the six-month window for implementation. Just when we were all geared up and ready to go, the government pushes the deadlines out again for one more year.

The frustrating part is how much time, energy, and resources have been spent these past few months getting ready to begin the implementation.

Proper ICD coding is the single most significant component to getting paid for all of our services. If the claim is not coded correctly, it entirely could be at risk for getting denied or falling into a “red flag” scenario. With this additional year for the transition, should we change our training strategies to use these next 18 months to become intimately familiar with the new billing codes?

Currently, there are approximately 13,000 ICD-9 codes, but approximately 68,000 — more than five times as many — ICD-10 codes.

The expectation with the new coding system is the ability to better and more accurately diagnosis patient conditions. CMS: The Next Generation of Coding points out that the new coding system will provide a greater opportunity for evidence-based practice and better insight for optimizing grouping and reimbursement processes — and create fewer burdens on clinicians to provide detailed supporting documentation.

I’m not sure I completely believe the claims about reducing documentation. But I do believe the new system will significantly help streamline the supporting documentation.

If we keep this game of setting the dates and then delaying over and over again, maybe we should just wait until 2017. By then, we could jump into the ICD-11 coding system that the rest of the world will probably be rolling out.

Shelly Mesure (“measure”), MS, OTR/L, is the senior vice president of Orchestrall Rehab Solutions and owner of A Mesured Solution Inc., a rehabilitation management consultancy with clients nationwide. A former corporate and program director for major long-term care providers, she is a veteran speaker and writer on therapy and reimbursement issues.