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AMA: Skipping to ICD-11 Not a Good Option Either

May 13, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The American Medical Association (AMA), a noted opponent of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) mandated transition to the ICD-10 code-set, is not advocating the government to skip right to the ICD-11 either, the non-profit group said in a recent Board of Trustees report.

According Steven J. Stack, chair of the AMA, skipping over ICD-10 and right into ICD-11 is “fraught with its own pitfalls.” Among those listed in the report are that the ICD-11 transition would cost just as much as the ICD-10 one. The report notes it may actually be more due to ICD-11’s content model, which allows for more computerization, as well as its multi-axial framework, with linkages 25 among the diagnostic concepts, which is in contrast to the hierarchical structure of ICD-10. Overall, it requires more computerization.

Along with cost, AMA expresses concern about the delay it would take if ICD-11 was the option. ICD-10, it notes, “is expected to reduce payers’ reliance on requesting additional information, known as “attachments”, which could reduce burdens on physicians.” If CMS goes right to ICD-11 this would be delayed. There is also concern that going right to ICD-11 would impede the industry’s ability to build on their knowledge of ICD-10, which is needed for ICD-11, the report says.

For these reasons and others, the group says it’s not a smart idea to skip right to ICD-11. The only major reason for skipping right to ICD-11, AMA says, is it "will give physicians and the health care industry more time to implement electronic health records (EHRs) and develop the electronic systems infrastructure for health information exchange, since resources will not be stretched between the two major implementation activities of ICD-10 and EHRs."

Back in June of last year, AMA announced it would explore this idea. The current deadline for the ICD-10 transition is Oct. 1, 2014.

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