When colleagues go before the World Health Organization (WHO), the fact that the United States is the only country without the modern diagnostic coding system known as ICD-10 causes some chagrin, according to Denise Buenning, of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Don’t wait, start your planning,” Buenning told insurers and state regulators meeting on the medical loss ratio quality improvement subgroup committee Wednesday outside Washington, at the fall meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). “We don’t want delays.”
Buenning, who is director of the Administrative Simplification Group of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS, recommended training staff in the coding classification six months before implementation, or in April 2013. She also strongly encouraged insurers and regulators to participate in educational forums on the subject, whether through travel or hosted webinars.
Buenning said it was too soon to tell if there would be any delay in the October 2013 implementation date of ICD-10, telling National Underwriter that insurers have “known for awhile” that this transition to ICD-10 from ICD-9 was happening. The shift was first proposed in 2008, with an effective date of October 2011. Insurers got two additional years, so they are now supposed to be ready by 2013.