Health Information Management

News: AMA continues its opposition to ICD-10

CDI Strategies, December 6, 2012

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During its November House of Delegates meeting in Honolulu, members of the American Medical Association (AMA) again vocalized its opposition to ICD-10 implementation, according to a preliminary report of its 2012 interim meeting.

Per the report:
Resolution 209—eliminate ICD-10.
“Resolved, [t]hat our AMA immediately reiterate to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that the burdens imposed by ICD-10 will force many physicians in small practices out of business. This communication needs to be sent to all in Congress and displayed prominently on our AMA website.”
Although the motion is only preliminary and therefore non-binding, it illustrates the continued opposition of the AMA and physician community to the coding update.
The AMA initially voiced its opposition to ICD-10 in 2011. Then, in February 2012 during its National Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, CMS acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner indicated the agency could consider a revision to the ICD-10-CM/PCS implementation timeline. On August 24, after submitting a proposed rule and collecting comments from the public, HHS announced a one-year implementation delay, from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014.
Although the AMA previously discussed the possibility of leapfrogging over ICD-10 in favor of ICD-11, the House of Delegates apparently opted to eliminate that resolution. It expects to complete a feasibility report on the pros and cons of such a move in June 2013.
Nevertheless, most believe that ICD-10 implementation will continue as planned with no further schedule delays.
“In CMS’ mind, it is unambiguous that ICD-9-CM can no longer meet [industry] needs,” said Richard Averill, senior vice president of clinical and economic research for 3M, during a September 5 3M webinar, ICD-10 Final Rule Q&A. “ICD-11 is in its embryonic stages. The idea that it could be ready by 2015 is optimistic at best. CMS says it cannot forgo ICD-10-CM/PCS in the hopes that ICD-11 will be ready in a reasonable time frame. Forgoing the change to I-10-CM/PCS could cost the country and the industry more than $20 billion,” Averill said.
The importance of moving forward with the transition to ICD-10 code set was further clarified during a recent CMS National Provider Call. During the call, Chris Stahlecker from CMS’ Administrative Simplification Group of the Office of eHealth Standards and Services summed up the problem of not switching to ICD-10.
“We just can’t continue to exist on the ICD-9 codes…we cannot advance our healthcare delivery system based off of code values that are becoming obsolete and very complicated to convey any meaningful information,” Stahlecker said.
Editor’s Note: Portions of this brief were excerpted from the CDI Journal and the ICD-10 Trainer Blog.

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