The American Medical Association (AMA) has sent a letter to the acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Marilyn B. Tavenner, asking for a longer delay time period to the ICD-10 transition compliance date. While AMA says it welcomes the proposed extension in the compliance deadline for ICD-10 from Oct. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2014, it urgesCMS to further extend the ICD-10 deadline at a minimum to Oct. 1, 2015.
According to the AMA, “two-year delay of the compliance deadline for ICD-10 is a necessary first step.” The physician-based advocate group says an extended delay would “provide CMS with adequate time to pursue a much needed cost-benefit analysis of the full ICD-10 move that covers the administrative and financial impact of the ICD-10 move on physician practices.” The current delay does not provide CMS with adequate time to fully examine the appropriate scope of ICD-10 and true costs to physician practices, the group says. The group also made a suggestion for what to do doing during the delay.
“During this time, we also urge CMS to institute a process to engage all relevant stakeholders including physicians to assess whether an alternative code set approach is more appropriate than the full implementation of ICD-10. While a number of other countries have implemented ICD-10, they have done so with a modified version of the code set and often with substantial government support,” the AMA stated in the letter.
Along with citing other health IT deadlines, AMA calls ICD-10 a massive administrative and financial undertaking for physicians, and says costs could range from $83,290 to more than $2.7 million. It cites experiences in Canada and studies on the transition to ICD-10 show a severe risk for claims processing and payment disruptions.