Buried in the U.S. Congress's just-passed sustainable growth rate extension patch is a little known provision that would further delay the HIPAA-mandated implementation of ICD-10. As reviewed years ago by the PHB ("Rough Seas Ahead"), ICD-10's benefit of precise medical billing accuracy was threatened by the considerable provider costs of having to retool their information systems without much impact on patient care or revenue. 

This was going to be an uphill climb under the best of circumstances.

While CMS had previously delayed the implementation of ICD-10 from 2013 to October of 2014, continued hospital and physician alarm apparently convinced a majority of U.S. Senators to delay the implementation by another year to 2015.  While many in the health care industry are undoubtedly breathing a sigh of relief, that's small comfort to others who have been diligently working hard and investing a lot of money to be in compliance with the law.

Is this democracy in action, or further evidence of Washington DC's fickle inability to be a responsible and consistent steward of the health care system?  While readers ponder that, the Population Health Blog was naturally struck by some similarities between the tragic loss of Malaysian flight 370 and the star-crossed travails of ICD-10 roll out:

Response to heartbroken families and overworked programmers?

Malaysia 370:   Sorry!               
ICD-10 Delay:  Sorry!
Remains only big news only to:

Malaysia 370:  CNN viewers                
ICD-10 Delay:  Commercial insurers
One underlying problem:                   

Malaysia 370:   Transponding               
ICD-10 Delay:  Squandering         

Involving tends of thousands of:

Malaysia 370:   Square miles               
ICD-10 Delay:  Diagnosis codes

How should the public respond?

Malaysia 370:    Fly less?              
ICD-10 Delay:   Couldn't care less
Who really seems to be in charge?

Malaysia 370:   Astrologers               
ICD-10 Delay: Senators

Malaysia 370:   Flotsam         
ICD-10 Delay:  Bedlam

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