- As physician groups lobby for another ICD-10 delay, the AHA fired a shot across Congress' bow to disavow them of the notion that another delay would be a good idea. The AHA's strongly-worded letter, addressed to congressional leaders in both houses, stated that thousands of hospitals would spend billion of dollars if ICD-10 is delayed yet again.
- According to HHS figures, the most recent one-year compliance delay until October 2015 has already cost HIPAA-covered institutions between $1.1 billion and $6.8 billion. Hospitals that were ready for the October 2014 date have had to overhaul systems they just finished overhauling for ICD-10, change software and retrain new ICD-10 coders in ICD-9.
- "We urge Congress to avoid any further delays of this needed coding update," the letter stated. "ICD-9 is outdated and ICD-10 is needed to keep up with advances in medicine and ensure accurate payment."
Hospitals seem to have gotten their way: The $1-trillion omnibus spending legislation revealed Tuesday does not include a delay. Our bet is that while Congress hasn't included a delay in the budget bill, they will find a way to extend the existing deadline. Many of those in Congress just got re-elected, and they will find they have to dance with the girl who brought them.
Physician groups—still suffering sticker shock over the ICD-10 transition costs for their practices—have been pushing Congress to include another 2-year delay in the budget bill being prepped for a vote this week. In the meantime, hospitals that have already taken it on the chin once over ICD-10 compliance are pooling their resources to convince Congress to stick to the October 2015 schedule.
Signed by just about every hospital association and advocacy group in the US, the letter was intended as a show of force to Congress. By doing it in public, however, the hospitals just demonstrated how worried they really are about another delay. In politics, special interests and legislators tend to talk issues in private. When they take their grievances public like this, it means that the backroom conversations and behind-closed-doors lobbying didn't work.