AMA: Disregard or Postpone ICD-10

In what may be a less than surprising move, the American Medical Association has come out in support of legislation proposed late last month by Sen. Ted Poe (R-Texas) that aims to ban the use of ICD-10. In a letter to Poe dated May 14, AMA executive vice president and CEO James Madara calls the differences between the current ICD-9 code set and the forthcoming ICD-10 code set “substantial,” pointing out that physicians will be burdened financially and administratively by the transition, set to take place October 1 of this year.

In what remains a simple fact, especially for those organizations not taking steps to move forward with the legislation is that it will be a major undertaking. Some prevailing thought is that healthcare organizations should simply forego the transition to ICD-10 and move directly to ICD-11.

As reported by FierceHealthIT, “Implementation will not only affect physician claims submission; it will impact most business process within a physician’s practice, including verifying patient eligibility, obtaining pre-authorization for services, documentation of the patient’s visit, research activities, public health reporting and quality reporting,” Madara says. “Furthermore, not only will physicians face the prospect of significant disruption in claims processing and payment during the transition to ICD-10, any physicians who are unable to transition to ICD-10 by the implementation date simply will not get paid.”

AMA president Steven Stack recently said that the best thing to do is to jump past the current impediment and get on with things, straight to the next iteration of the coding system. “Let’s just get to ICD-11 and get it done properly,” Stack said in a recent interview. “We believe the problems associated with ICD-10 are so substantial, our policy is we should not move forward with ICD-10.”

Of course, that seems a bit a child making a fuss until he get his way, as the AMA has been calling for a postponement of ICD-10 for years. When then, if not now, will such a time for a change be good enough for the organization. Will the AMA lobby for a postponement of permanent departure of ICD-10, and if granted, until ICD-11, will the organization only work to postpone it then again?

Likely, yes, according to FierceHealthIT. AMA president told the site that should the ICD-10 transition take place, his organization an 18-month grace period to aid providers. The logical argument to this point, however, is that we just emerged from another one-year hiatus after the deadline postponement of Oct. 1, 2014, to October 10 of this year.

It’s likely that we’ll finally get to an implementation of ICD-10 this coming October after several previous delays, but no matter the outcome, not everyone in healthcare and coding is going to be happy about the final outcome. At least that’s something that we can all agree about.

Those organizations that have not made steps toward preparing for ICD-10 may, at this point, need a little help meeting the current deadline. As experts in ICD-10 and managing its implementation, those of us at Alego Health are here to help.

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