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EDITOR’S NOTE: Today we are day 15 of a partial government shutdown with the distinct possibility of the United States defaulting on its obligations come Thursday.

We are one year away and counting from the ICD-10 go-live date of Oct. 1, 2014. Who would have imagined in 1979, when we first started using ICD-9-CM, that 35 years later, we would be preparing for the new era of coding? We should learn to embrace the change, however, as not all bad things will happen on Oct. 1, 2014. As a matter of fact, historically, a lot of good things have happened on Oct. 1. Here are a few notable Oct. 1 events that undoubtedly will bring forth a positive reaction and encouragement to embrace the date:

1932 – In the fifth inning of Game Three of the World Series, Babe Ruth waits until he has two strikes, points towards the outfield, and hits the next pitch into the centerfield bleachers for a home run. This results in millions of kids and professional athletes imitating it for years to come.

1942 – Little Golden Books begins publishing children’s books. Since then, more than two billion Little Golden Books have been published all over the world, including such titles as The Poky Little Puppy, Tootle the Train, and The Little Red Caboose, to name a few. I am sure many readers of this website have either read or been read a Little Golden Book in their lifetime.

1955 – TheHoneymooners premieres and becomes part of American culture. Who will ever forget such classic phrases as “Bang, zoom, straight to the Moon!”, “One of these days… one of these days… Pow! Right in the kisser!” and “Baby, you’re the greatest!”

1962 – Johnny Carson hosts his 1st Tonight Show, sparking a run that would see him continue hosting for the next 30 years. An estimated 50 million people tuned into the final episode to hear Ed McMahon introduce Carson for the last time with his iconic, drawn-out “Heeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!” 

1971 – Walt Disney World opens in Orlando after seven years of planning. Who would have imagined a man’s vision “to make people happy” would impact so many people?

1982 – The Sony CDP-101, the world’s first commercially released compact disc player, is released in Japan for 168,000 yen, or $730. I was personally sad when they stopped making 8-tracks.

1986- HCFA collaborates with AHA and AMA to expand the common procedure coding system.

1995 – CMS awards a contract for the complete development of the replacement procedural coding system.

1999 – ICD-10 is implemented in the United States for mortality reporting. Yes, we have been using ICD-10 for the past 14 years.  

2008 – HHS proposes the adoption of ICD-10 code sets, effective Oct. 1, 2011, and hordes of HIM professionals plan an early retirement.

2009 – HHS issues its final rule to replace the ICD-9-CM code sets with the greatly expanded ICD-10 code sets, with a compliance date of Oct. 1, 2013. Fear and excitement sets in for many.

2012 – HHS announces that the final ICD-10 compliance date is delayed to Oct. 1, 2014. Failure to launch provides one more year to prepare.

2013 – The U.S. government shuts down, with insiders contending that normal operations will return by Oct. 1, 2014. 

Again, we are T-minus 12 months before the new ICD-10 era begins and the industry shifts from years of planning, preparing, and transformation activities into the new ICD-10 discovery phase. Transforming the industry certainly has presented its challenges, and to that end I would like to quote American author Michael Pollan: “But that’s the challenge – to change the system more than it changes you.” Good luck to all over the next 12 months.  

About the Author

John Pitsikoulis, RHIA, is the ICD-10 practice leader and an AHIMA ICD-10-Approved Trainer for Nuance Communications. John has more than 28 years of revenue cycle, health information management, coding, and compliance consulting experience. John has developed and led several corporate and client strategic engagements for managing the conversion to ICD-10, including ICD-10 assessments, implementation planning, integrated testing, education plan management and revenue preservation strategies. 

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