Stop Arguing About ICD-10

Jennifer Della'Zanna, MFA
Jennifer Della’Zanna

Guest post by Jennifer Della’Zanna.

The debate rages on, despite the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issuing a rule finalizing Oct. 1, 2015, as the final date for ICD-10 implementation. Why? Because they said there would be absolutely no more delays last year. And the year before that. It’s kind of like a parent who doesn’t follow through with consequences in childrearing. If the child gets away with it once, they’re going to try again. I predict rages against the machine until midnight on Sept. 30, 2015.

The Delay

I was in the field, one day into a two-day boot camp, in Connecticut. UConn had just made it into the Final Four, and the hotel bar was filled with revelers watching ESPN. I was in my hotel room, on the phone with my husband because the hotel didn’t have C-Span. He gave me a blow-by-blow count of the votes required until the SGR “doc fix” bill would pass because, at the last minute, the bill had been revised to include language affecting ICD-10 implementation.

If it passed, doctors’ reimbursements would not be cut by 24 percent, but ICD-10 would be delayed by at least a year. My husband is a surgeon, so we had a stake on both sides of the fence … or aisle, I suppose. Of course, it passed — it always passes. But what did that mean for all the people I’d taught in the past months, and what would that mean for the class I had to face the next morning, smack dab in the middle of their training? I expected to see my class members just as disheartened as I was and worried about the energy level of the second training day.

It turns out I didn’t even need to bring cookies. Nobody was disappointed. In fact, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief. And these were the people I thought were ahead of the curve on implementation.

So, I took a poll:

Did they think people not ready for ICD-10 in 2014 would be ready in 2015?


Did they think people who were almost ready would spend the year getting extra-ready?


So, what did the year gain us? Breathing room?

I say it gained us one thing: Fatigue.

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