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In the classic Aesop’s fable, the young shepherd boy cried wolf three times. The first two times, there was no wolf. The third time, there was a wolf, the townsfolk didn’t believe the boy, and he lost part of his flock.

Today, the healthcare industry’s perspective of ICD-10 is very much the same. The government has “cried ICD-10” twice already. In 2013 and 2014, many of us (the “townspeople,” so to speak) raced to implement the new coding set only to have either the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) or Congress back down on the conversion deadline. The latest, third deadline now has been confirmed by CMS as Oct. 1, 2015, and more than a few providers are still responding like the townspeople – rolling their eyes with doubt.

Admittedly, in the original fable, deliberate lies caused the town’s loss of confidence in the boy. While CMS and Congress certainly can’t be accused of lying about ICD-10, what do the delays and resulting confusion say about the credibility of our government?

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