CMS promises ICD-10 software six months in advance

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Providers will receive needed coding and billing software six months before the ICD-10 transition date, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced. This is double the lead time that providers had for a planned 2014 transition, which was delayed by a year.

Long-term care and other providers have long been preparing for the switch to the new International Classification of Diseases system, which was supposed to take place on Oct. 1, 2014. It has been pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015. The new system is greatly expanded, with the goal being more specificity. For example, there now will be separate codes for “unspecified organism pneumonia” and pneumonia that developed after influenza had been diagnosed.

“Several commenters” pressed CMS for the additional lead time, the agency noted in a final rule issued Oct. 30. Providers consistently have expressed anxiety over the complex transition and some have said that CMS is not offering needed support.

The agency will carry out “additional outreach” in the coming months, and is encouraging providers to “take advantage” of the additional lead-time to prepare their systems to submit ICD-10 codes, the rule states.

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