ICD-10 Implementation Consulting was just starting to ramp up with hospitals who were until now struggling and distracted with electronic medical record implementation projects to achieve meaningful use of EMRs.

With the announcement from CMS creating uncertainty, ICD-10 implementation plans and ICD-10 assessment start dates have been re-assessed by many of our clients.   Now that CMS has announced a firm date of October 1, 2014, it should be clear that HIPAA covered entities should be moving ahead.

One strategy is to continue to move ahead on ICD-10 process impacts, systems planning, and overall budgets but depending on readiness, get your consulting firm to help with both the requirements documentation and strategies for clinical documentation that don’t’ exist now.   Why?  The WEDI / NCHICA timeline suggests that health care providers should have started planning for ICD-10 about 18 months before the CMS announcement of a delay.  Therefore any ICD-10 implementation consulting or ICD-10 planning that was not done should be started now, even with a delay.  It would mean (tongue in cheek) that if you are a hospital system, clinic, physician group, etc. that you could start now and only one year late or perhaps be right on time if CMS announces a two-year delay.

ICD-10 is coming.  The certain thing is that the train has left the station, and the arrival time, if delayed, still means that healthcare providers need to be planning now.

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