ICD-10 Delay: What It Means to Healthcare Educators and Students

For a second time, legislation was passed to delay the implementation of ICD-10 code sets used by healthcare providers until October 1, 2015. This decision will cause a one-year setback from an original adoption date on October 1, 2014. The announcement was in addition to a previous delay that occurred in August 2012.

Many organizations have been diligently working to train their coders and care providers for some time now. With the delay, clinicians and coders worry about losing their knowledge.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) responded to the signing of H.R. 4302 with a statement quoting CMS as saying that this delay could potentially cost the healthcare industry 6.6 billion dollars. Medical businesses have been working to educate both their coding and IT staff for months. Now they may have to retrain their staff in 2015, assuming there are no further delays.

ICD-10 Delay: What It Means to Healthcare Educators
ICD 10 healthcare educatorsHealthcare educators and students have been negatively affected. The ICD-10 delay has significantly impacted healthcare educators. Instructors are now required to adjust their teaching timelines and curriculum to cover both ICD-9 and ICD-10 for students. Because students need to learn the current system, as well as the future system, educators will have to teach both systems concurrently.

The delay means students will need to learn ICD-9 coding for an additional year. The delay also hurts students who are ready to enter their profession this year. Learning two different coding systems at the same time is extremely challenging for students. Those students who are at the end of their programs, and may have delayed coding courses so they would only need to learn the ICD-10, will now be required to learn both systems.

Students who learned ICD-10 coding, and who have recently graduated, won’t have the opportunity to use their new skills. It’s quite possible that these students will forget some of their ICD-10 coding skills if they are only using ICD-9 codes. Students may need to take additional classes or refresher courses and study the new codes a second time.

The delay also affects educators’ budgets. In anticipation for the ICD-10 transition, educators created budgets that would drop the resources needed to teach ICD-9 courses. Now, those courses must continue to be taught, and instructors’ salaries, classroom materials, and other necessary resources must come out of the existing budget.

Delaying the implementation of ICD-10 coding may help physicians and healthcare systems that were not prepared for the transition, but the setback has significantly hurt current students and put a larger burden on healthcare educators’ time and budgets.

For more information about making the transition to ICD-10, contact us today.