OC Reilly Blog: HHS Sets 2015 Deadline for ICD-10 Compliance

By Ray Staudt, Executive Director-Business Development, OC Reilly Inc.


In late July, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services formally set Oct. 1, 2015, as the date for compliance with conversion to the new ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes.  This date corresponds with the absolute minimum delay imposed by Congress when it ordered HHS to roll back the original conversion date of Oct. 1, 2014.

The year-long delay came in part due to a report sponsored by the American Medical Association, which recommended postponing implementation of the new ICD-10 system, citing that implementation costs would exceed prior estimates.

ICD-10 is the 10th revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), a medical classification list by the World Health Organization (WHO). It codes for diseases, signs and symptoms, abnormal findings, complaints, social circumstances, and external causes of injury or diseases. 

One of the reasons ICD-10 represents such an imposing challenge – both in timing and cost – is that the code sets it classifies are estimated to expand ten-fold, from 14,000 to approximately 140,000.

What’s more, in the most recent iteration, ICD-9, codes contained up to 5 numeric characters with some starting with an E or V code, while ICD-10 will change all codes to alphanumeric, beginning with a letter and with a mix of numbers and letters ranging from 3 to 7 characters – vastly expanding the system.

“We’re happy it came out,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, CEO of the American Health Information Management Association, as quoted in the Aug. 4, 2014, edition of Modern Healthcare.  “Everybody in health care loves to have a deadline.  Now, we’ve got a date. Let’s ramp up.”

One of the most practical solutions – especially now that the Oct. 1, 2015, deadline has been fixed in place – is to reach out for help from service providers and consultants like OC Reilly who are skilled in ICD-10 regulations and practical implementation strategies.