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AHIMA Opposes AMA's Position to Delay ICD-10

November 17, 2011
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The Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) said its disappointed with the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates vote to oppose ICD-10-CM implementation scheduled for completion in October 2013.

There are countless benefits that will come from the use of a 21st Century classification system said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, RHIA, FACHE. She said it is needed to move the disease classification system toward international standards and also align it with the Meaningful Use incentive program as well as value-based reimbursement. The provider reimbursement system is moving to payment for quality care and the use of a more contemporary, detailed coding system that will support quality care, public health, and research both nationally and internationally.

Responding to the concern for the increase in codes associated with the 1990s ICD-10-CM over the 1970s ICD-9-CM and its impact on physicians, AHIMA Director of Coding Policy and Compliance Sue Bowman, RHIA, CCS, noted, AHIMA has demonstrated several times that administrative systems can be easily implemented for most primary practices and that specialty practices will only be using a small number of the codes.

Bowman also responded to recent reports chastising the classification system for codes that indicated the source of a disease or medical complication. She said the classification system is detailed when detail is needed, but if these more detailed codes are not used when the physician is usually asked to submit additional information after the claim is filed, that will lead to more work on the part of a medical practice’s staff

AHIMA noted that a slowdown in implementation of an inevitable classification change will greatly add to both the cost of such a delayed implementation and the purchase and implementation of electronic health records and health information exchange, as well as the impact on the many changes occurring in the healthcare industry’s implementation of quality-based reimbursement.

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