Healthcare Business News
Jacob Reider, chief medical officer in the Office of the National Coordinator

CIOs look for 'flexibility' from feds on ICD-10, meaningful use

By Joseph Conn
Posted: February 24, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

Healthcare chief information officers have been calling for flexibility in the federally mandated switch Oct. 1 to the International Classification of Diseases diagnostic and procedural codes (ICD-10) and the currently effective Stage 2 meaningful-use rules. Their protests could be at least partially addressed this week when CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and ONC chief Dr. Karen DeSalvo are scheduled to share the HIMSS podium as keynote speakers.

“We've heard the word 'flexible,' ” said Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at the CMS. “We understand the B word, the burden that is out there. We hear about meaningful use. ”

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Tagalicod was speaking at CHIME's symposium Sunday, a preliminary event before the official start Monday of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Convention & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.

The ICD-10 start date has not changed, Tagalicod said, but the feds are listening.

But the growth in healthcare spending is not sustainable, and so the government, which expects ICD-10 and Stage 2 meaningful use will help the industry get better control of rising healthcare costs, also has to be pragmatic, he said.

Dr. Jacob Reider, chief medical officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS, added, “I think the administration is very clear that fee for service is not working. It's not providing value.” But for alternative, performance-based payment mechanisms to work, there has to be the needed health IT systems in place, he said.

Still, Tagalicod said, the feds have been looking at the ICD-10 rule and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which created the EHR incentive payment program to which the Stage 2 rule applies, “to see where there is latitude and some of the time frames and requirements under the statute.”

“I'm going to make a plug,” Tagalicod said. “The plug is for Thursday” when Tavenner speaks.

“Hopefully, between now and then, some of the discussion we are having now and some on the subjects that fall under the rubric of relief may be a little clearer,” he said.

“We're asking, we hope nicely, for some flexibility,” said Russ Branzell, CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, a professional association for hospital CIOs who was part of the same panel discussion in a ballroom packed by 600 CIOs.

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn

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