EHR and practice management for mental / behavioral health
PIMSY mental health EHR ICD-10 delay

ICD-10 delayed until at least 10/1/15!!

by Leigh-Ann Renz, 4.2.14

What does this mean for you as a mental & behavioral health care provider?!

Just weeks after CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner stated in her keynote speech at HIMSS: “There are no more delays and the system will go live on October 1st. Let’s face it guys, we’ve delayed this several times and it’s time to move on”, Congress has made the decision to delay ICD-10 by at least one year. President Obama has officially signed H.R. 4302, meaning the revised deadline is now 10/1/15.

PIMSY Advisory Board member Lisette Wright has put together a superb synopsis of what this very unexpected decision means for those of us in the mental / behavioral health and susbstance abuse industries:

     “Much work is to be done and for behavioral health organizations who still do not think ICD-10 applies to them, consider this a reprieve and an opportunity. Many state governments have not made the shift in clinical requirements to DSM-5 yet even though the American Psychiatric Association has said the ‘transition to DSM-5 is expected to be complete’ by January 1, 2014. The DSM-5 updates, not to mention the more specific ICD-10 code sets, constitutes a huge shift in organizational cultures, compliance, and willingness. Many organizations ‘top 20’ diagnoses are heavily weighted with the NOS designation.

     That means that clinicians, physicians, nursing staff, and others will have to change their entrenched ways of diagnosing and clinically documenting in the medical record. And, it appears that DSM-5 is fully in effect right now, which means we need to be training staff and transitioning to that code set.

     I strongly recommend that you begin your DSM-5/ICD-10 transition process now. The scope of this is very large, especially testing systems and the clinical training components. Training clinicians in the dual manuals, the intricacies of the manuals, and to practice dual coding with continuous utilization review will be imperative to maintaining a strong fiscal foundation for your organization when ICD-10 goes into effect.”

Click here to read the full article.

Use this time to prepare, not put off!

On one hand, I welcome the extra time this allows practices to prepare, and the delay gives all of us the management opportunity to prevent the potential financial crisis that ICD-10 presents. On the other hand, my concern is that practices won’t use the additional time to prepare, but will rather ignore ICD-10 for another year, simply delaying the possible cash flow disruption. 

All of the providers I have spoken with fall into 2 camps: they either don’t understand the magnitude of ICD-10 / don’t believe it applies to them – or they comprehend the enormity of ICD-10 but don’t know how to make sense of the changes:

  • “It doesn’t affect me because I use DSM-5.”
  • “My billing person will handle it.”
  • “Are we really going to need 4 code sets!?”
  • “Where do I find the specifiers in ICD-10? I see the descritions but not the specifiers.”
  • “When do I use DSM-IV, DSM-5, ICD-9 and ICD-10!?
  • “My EHR vendor will take care of it…”

The extra year gives practices that are still in denial a chance to accept that this does affect all of us, even providers who are all self-pay! It also provides the opportunity for each organization to understand what this transition means, how it may affect their revenue cycle, how they need to code, and what steps must be taken to help ensure that they can weather this perfect storm. 

Let’s use this reprieve to find answers to our questions, adequately prepare, and prevent a financial bottleneck from happening next October! We welcome any questions you might have (click here to email) – and welcome the opportunity to continue providing resources to you as our industry faces this immense challenge. 

     “There is a quote that “life is the sum of all your choices” and it is the same for practice choices.  Your practice as a business will be the result of the choices you’ve made during this time.  I encourage you to make some good ones and take action.” ~ Rebecca Morehead, Practice Manager Solutions

Leigh-Ann Renz is the Business Development and Marketing Director of PIMSY EHR.


Leigh-Ann Renz is the Marketing & Business Development Director of PIMSY EHR. For more information about electronic solutions for your practice, check out Mental Health EHR.


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