The US Department of Health and Human Services announced what everyone has known for months — mandated implementation of ICD-10 will be delayed one year to Oct. 1, 2014.
The federal agency apparently did not take August off, as it finalized several other rules and regulations at the end of last week, such as the creation of a unique identifier for health plans to standardize what has been a hodge-podge of codes, an initiative the department projects will save $6 billion over the next 10 years.
Major health plans are required to obtain HPIDs by 2 years after the effective date in 2014. Small health plans are required to obtain HPIDs 3 years after the effective date in 2015. All covered entities are required to use HPIDs where they identify health plans that have HPIDs in standard transactions 4 years after the effective date, in 2016.
HHS also announced the guidelines for the next stage of adoption by healthcare providers regarding patient electronic records. Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, HHS has laid out a 3-stage process to move patient health records online and provides financial incentives to providers for each step. The first stage, “capturing data electronically and providing patients with electronic copies of health information,” has been adopted by more than 120,000 providers, the agency reports.
The second stage, formally announced last week, will begin in early 2014 and incentivizes healthcare organizations to create an infrastructure that provides patients with secure online access to their health information. This will set the table for the third and final stage, to “expand meaningful use objectives to improve health care outcomes.”