Despite recent comments by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner that the Oct. 1 implementation date for ICD-10 was inflexible, lobbying by the American Medical Association and physician management groups for a delay may have prompted Congressional support.

The language in HR 4372, "Protecting Access to Medicare," is purposely vague so as not to create a specific deadline: “The Secretary of Health and Human Service may not, prior to Oct. 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as the standard for codes sets” and finishes by citing sections in the Social Security Act and the Code of Federal Regulations where the secretary's authority to mandate ICD-10 are located.

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In an article published online in Modern Healthcare updating the House committee action, reporter Joseph Conn wrote that the measure was greeted with relief by some who were worried the industry could not be ready by October and frustration and ire by others upset that those who have invested in meeting this year's deadline may now need to wait another year for others to catch up. Lobbyists for the Medical Group Management Association, the American Medical Association, and other professional and industry groups had petitioned Tavenner for an ICD-10 delay, and for better testing by the CMS of Medicare claims processing for ICD-10 compliance. But Tavenner said in February that the deadline was locked in. “There are no more delays and the system will go live on Oct. 1,” she said during a health care meeting in Orlando, Fla. last month.

In a Modern Healthcare annual survey of executive opinions on health IT issues, ICD-10 preparations dominated their plans and preparations, with just 8% of survey respondents indicating their ICD-10 work was done, 57% listed it as a work in progress, 19% said they would start within 12 months, 11% had not started and 5% said they had not considered it, Conn said in his article.

Read the Modern Healthcare article here.