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AMA, CHIME Give Mixed Reaction to ICD-10 Delay

August 27, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently confirmed the CMS’ decision to delay the compliance date for transition to the ICD-10 code set by one year, from Oct. 1, 2013 to Oct. 1, 2014. The announcement, making the delay official, has prompted reactions from across the industry, as various associations have submitted their official responses to the news.

The American Medical Association (AMA), which has let its opinion on the ICD-10 transition be well-known, said through a submitted statement from its Board Chair Steven J. Stack, M.D., it recommends a delay of at least two years. The association says it appreciates the administration's decision to provide a one year delay, but it has urged CMS to do more to reduce the regulatory burdens on physician practices so physicians can spend more time with patients.

"The move toward ICD-10 comes at a time when physicians are dealing with the implementation of multiple Medicare incentive and penalty programs,” Stack said in a statement. “Implementing ICD-10 alone requires physicians and their office staff to contend with 68,000 codes – a five-fold increase from the current 13,000 codes. Physicians are also already trying to engage in new delivery and payment models. The implementation of ICD-10 will create more challenges for physicians when our Medicare system is broken and cannot provide adequate funding to cover the cost of these additional administrative burdens."

AMA said it will constructively with HHS to reduce the burden of ICD-10 for physicians so physicians can spend more time with their patients. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) also expressed concerns with the delay.

“Despite the additional year for ICD-10 implementation, MGMA remains concerned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated this new code set without having undertaken the necessary due diligence to ensure it will not create debilitating cash flow disruptions for physician practices,” Susan Turney, M.D., president and CEO of MGMA said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), through president and CEO Richard A. Correll, openly supported keeping the compliance delay as short as possible.

“In public comments filed last April, CHIME urged CMS to keep its proposed one year delay because a longer delay would seriously disrupt ongoing efforts to convert to ICD-10. And, as HHS itself recognizes, a longer delay would significantly increase the costs of converting to ICD-10. Overall CHIME applauds the efforts of HHS to quickly and decisively signal a commitment to ICD-10 conversion and we urge the Department to develop a clear path forward, with benchmarks, so that healthcare industry stakeholders can make the conversion in 2014,” Correll said.



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