Changes to the Changes
Delays, Hearings, and Pending Rules Add Uncertainty to the Shifting Landscape
By Dan Rode, MBA, CHPS, FHFMA
CLOSE TO 200 AHIMA members participated in this year’s AHIMA Capitol Hill
Day in Washington at the end of March.
In reality, Hill Day 2012 started some six
weeks before the actual event with a series
of webinars that covered the “how to’s” of
Hill advocacy, along with the other topics
on this year’s agenda. Methods for utilizing
social media as a tool for advocacy were
discussed as well—a subject that will be repeated later this year.
The event officially kicked off on the
morning of Tuesday, March 27 with a
breakfast in the Rayburn House Office
Building, where House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee chairman
Mike Rogers (R, MI), spoke to the assembly. He focused on the need for citizens
to participate in government, noting that
members of Congress are individuals
much like any other citizen and the public
should not be afraid to communicate with
them. In fact, he said, they share many of
the same issues, problems, and concerns
as the citizens they represent.
After breakfast, AHIMA members fanned
out across the Hill, visiting the offices of
senators and representatives with messages concerning the role of HIM professionals, as well as the importance of implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS as soon as
possible. Along with this message, members requested that the House of Representatives and Senate join together to ask the
General Accountability Office to study the
need for forward government involvement
with the development of uniform identifiers for use in patient data matching.
In the coming weeks you will be hearing
more about the discussions that occurred
on the Hill and our efforts to schedule ad-
ditional meetings with members of Con-
gress in their state or Congressional district
offices. If you were not able to make the
trip to Washington this year, I urge you to
join with your fellow HIM professionals to
make one or more of these visits to your
representative’s local offices.
In April the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed
rule that would delay the ICD-10-CM/PCS
compliance date one year—from October
1, 2013 to October 1, 2014.
The public had 30 days to submit comments on the proposed rule, which HHS
said they would consider before a final rule
is issued. As of press time a final rule date
had not been set.
Meanwhile, CMS officials have joined
with AHIMA to urge healthcare entities to
move forward with the ICD- 10 implementation process and not delay efforts.
Industry leaders suggest that healthcare
entities take the time to complete implementation and begin testing their systems
as soon as possible with their data trading partners. Lack of complete testing has
been pointed out as one of the major reasons the upgrade to the HIPAA 5010 transaction version was so poorly completed by
the original compliance date of January 1,
2012. The problems surrounding the 5010
conversion have caused HHS to delay any
penalty action until July 1, 2012. But while
this upgrade process is occurring in phases, the same approach is not possible for
the conversion of ICD-10-CM/PCS.
Several HIM state associations have
stepped up to work with physicians, small
rural and critical access hospitals, and other providers to help them catch up on their
ICD10-CM/PCS planning. They are using