The new ICD-10 coding system will take effect on Oct. 1, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has confirmed, quelling rumors that the target date for implementation of the new diagnostic code sets will be delayed.
Any ambulatory services provided on or after that date must use ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes, says the agency, which stresses that there will be no grace period. "I can assure you that this is a firm date," said Senior Technical Advisor Pat Brooks of CMS' Hospital and Ambulatory Policy Group in a conference call with medical providers, coders and billers last week.
The more complex and detailed ICD-10-CM system consists of 69,099 diagnosis codes as compared to the 14,315 codes in the current ICD-9 system. Another component of the new system, ICD-10-PCS codes, are for inpatient procedures only. CPT codes will continue to apply to outpatient procedures.
CMS has been updating the ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes annually to keep them current, but such updates have made planning for the transition difficult, the agency acknowledged during the conference call. In response to requests from vendors, system maintainers, payors and educators, CMS is proposing a limited code freeze, which would halt annual updates as of Oct. 1, 2011, and allow only limited updates to both coding systems on Oct. 1, 2012, and on Oct. 1, 2013 (for ICD-10 only) "for new technologies and diseases." Regular annual updates to ICD-10 would begin on Oct. 1, 2014.
CMS will announce a final decision on the code freeze proposal at the meeting of its ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee on Sept. 15 and 16.
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