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Medical Groups Pleading for Additional Two-Year Delay to ICD-10

December 2, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
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In a case of potential déjà vu, a number of medical groups are urging Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner (R-OH) to include a provision in an upcoming bill that would delay the ICD-10 compliance date another two years.

The advocacy efforts, which come from the National Physicians’ Council for Healthcare Policy, the Medical Society of the State of New York, the Texas Medical Association, and other state medical groups, seek to delay the ICD-10 implementation deadline until October 2017. The medical groups sent a letter to Speaker Boehner, asking him to tie a delay to a bill that will likely pass in the upcoming “lame duck” Congress session.

According to the Journal of AHIMA (American Healthcare Information Management Association), the bill is a $157 billion Departments of Labor-Health and Human Services-Education spending bill that will expire in the middle of this month. The medical groups say they have spoke with Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred Upton (R-MI) and Chairman of the Rules Committee, Pete Sessions (R-TX) on including this provision in the bill.

“The onerous penalties tied to these mandates add to the hysteria that is running through physicians’ offices and is generating many early retirements,” authors of the letter to Boehner write, who are worried about the financial impact that ICD-10 will have on physcians.

If the provision was implemented, it would be a repeat of what happened earlier this year when a provision to delay the ICD-10 code-set was included in a bill that extended the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) "doc fix.” It was unclear which group advocated for that provision.

In response, AHIMA has set out to ensure that history does not repeat itself. The advocacy group has begun efforts to reach out to Congressmen, asking them to support the current Oct. 1, 2015 compliance date

(UPDATE) AHIMA has sent out an official response:

AHIMA continues to support an October 1, 2015 deadline for implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS. The industry has already seen two delays in implementation, and each delay has cost the industry billions of dollars, as well as the untold costs of lost benefits from implementing a more effective code set. 

Recent research published by AHIMA has shown that the estimated costs, time, and resources required by physician offices to convert to ICD-10 are lower than initially estimated. And a recent survey conducted by AHIMA and the e-Health Initiative shows that the healthcare community recognizes the long-term benefits of using ICD-10 and is making good progress in getting ready for implementation.

Another delay will only further deter progress and cost the industry money. There is no benefit to deferring implementation.

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Another delay - Why? ICD-10-CM was adopted in 2009 with a 4+ year implementation period. As it is the October 1, 2015 deadline is approximately 6.5 years after adoption. Given that two delays have already been given, what makes us thing another delay will not be requested in 2017?

Meanwhile considerable data that could be coded into meaningful ICD-10-CM codes for quality assessment, improved reimbursement and other data research lies dormant in our EHR systems, and 21st-century medical knowledge cannot be converted into system to improve healthcare. ICD-10-CM is not perfect but we know that ICD-9-CM is so far behind yet here we are facing the request for another delay.

Can US Healthcare suffer another delay?


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