Health Information Management

News: AAPC to join ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee

CDI Strategies, December 10, 2015

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The American Medical Association (AMA) recently asked that the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) be added as a Cooperating Party in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) committee responsible for development and maintenance of ICD-10 codes, guidelines, and descriptions.

In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara requested that the agency add the APPC as a cooperating party because the professional association “has the necessary expertise, experience and can serve as the voice of physicians that is lacking in today’s Cooperating Parties.” 

Currently, the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee are comprised of four organizations, known collectively as the Cooperating Parties, including:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics
  • CMS
  • American Hospital Association (AHA)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

The parties are responsible for the development and maintenance of the ICD code set and its official guidelines.

The AMA says the Cooperating Parties under-represent physicians and individual health care providers who work in practice and outpatient settings. For example, both AHIMA and the AHA primarily represent hospitals, which the AMA says leaves physicians without a clear voice. The AMA says adding AAPC to the Cooperating Parties would provide representation for physicians working in the outpatient setting.

“This lack of representation is especially concerning given that the transition to ICD-10 will be most challenging for physicians and small practices,” says Madara.

Representation at coordination and maintenance meetings will also help coders contribute to the development of the codes they use to establish medical necessity, according to a blog post published by the AAPC.

“With payment reforms and changes in the coding system, it is now vital for the cooperating parties to contain inclusion of physician coding representation, and AAPC is the best equipped to do that,” Rhonda Buckholtz, vice president of strategic development for AAPC, said in the post.

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