By Deborah Grider
Imagine a child who has a report due the following day at school. He has procrastinated for several days and is just starting to panic, realizing he will never finish on time. But that night a winter storm moves in and snows enough that the schools are closed in the morning. Ecstatic that he has another day to complete the report, he again delays his work and spends most of the day playing in the snow with his friends.
It’s easy for us to point out that this boy did not learn his lesson, but many healthcare professionals are making the same mistake right now—and there is much more at stake than a failed school assignment.
Providers around the country have known for years that ICD-10 is coming, and that Oct. 1, 2013 was the concrete implementation date. Many practitioners and facilities have begun preparations, but a large number are woefully behind, doing little beyond forming their steering committee.
Amid this drama, we see a stay of execution: HHS is asking to delay the implementation for another year, to Oct. 1, 2014. And if the delay is upheld, healthcare professionals around the country should breathe a sigh of relief. But their next actions will determine whether they have learned their lesson.