HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the move in a news release issued a day after acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said that the CMS "would re-examine the time frame." Tavenner made the comment to reporters after addressing a Washington conference of the American Medical Association, which has sought relief from the looming deadline.
“We have heard from many in the provider community who have concerns about the administrative burdens they face in the years ahead,” Sebelius said in the release. “We are committing to work through the rulemaking process, with the provider community, to reexamine the pace at which HHS and the nation implement these important improvements to our healthcare system.”
Note: HHS issued a revised news release Thursday morning that omits all references to rulemaking. The release dated Feb. 15 has been removed from the HHS website.
HHS characterized the decision as part of the Obama administration's ongoing initiative to reduce the federal regulatory burdens on businesses.
Tavenner's signal this week toward flexibility was welcomed by many providers, stretched by the demands of under the federal meaningful-use framework for the adoption of health information technology and the demands of the healthcare reform law.
The American Health Information Management Association, however, encouraged healthcare organizations to stay the course on ICD-10 implementation and expressed concern that “government officials are sending mixed signals that many in the healthcare community will interpret as a reason for delay.”