We've been hearing about this bogeyman for years, and CMS has finally made the announcement. From the Coder's Pink Sheet, we have this summary:
The proposed rule for ICD-10, which would replace ICD-9-CM, was released August 15 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Also on August 15, HHS proposed an updated standard for electronic transactions for claims and prescription drugs. This standard, called Version 5010, (Version D.0 for pharmacy) is essential to the use of ICD-10.
Almost 30 years old, ICD-9 can't accommodate the burgeoning new diagnoses and procedures. There are 17,000 codes in ICD-9 and more than 155,000 in ICD-10. The new codes will facilitate electronic health records as a part of the electronic transactions.
Updated HIPAA electronic transaction standards will require the use of ICD-10 codes. The current standard (Version 4010) can't accommodate the higher volume of codes.
o Compliance with updated electronic transmissions (Version 5010 and Version D.0) would be required by April 1, 2010, under that proposed rule.
o Compliance with the new ICD-10 code sets would be required by two years after the final rule is published.
Both regulations may be viewed at:
Comments on the ICD-10 code sets proposed rule are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 21, 2008.
Comments on the updated transaction standards proposed are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Oct. 21, 2008.
Fact sheets describing both proposed rules will be forthcoming at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp.
The AMA released a very similar announcement.
The MGMA has already followed with a "why this is a bad idea" response.
My quick take on this is simple: we need to stop accepting such ridiculously low standards in our medical system here in the US. The ICD-10 is a lot like the metric system: it makes a lot more sense than our existing, archaic system; the rest of the world uses it; we're going to fight it foreve simply because we fear change and the existing system benefits the big cats.
Personally, I welcome our new ICD-10 overlords.
Meanwhile, I don't expect that this date will actually hold, but if it does...be prepared for a major hiccup when it does, as the inscos have no motivation to do this right.