AMA votes to 'vigorously' oppose ICD-10

Physicians say new coding system is burdensome

Topics: ICD-10, Coding, Revenue Cycle, Finance, Health Policy, Market Trends, Strategy, Promoting Interoperability, Electronic Medical Records Strategy, Information Technology

November 16, 2011

The American Medical Association (AMA) on Tuesday voted "to work vigorously to stop implementation" of ICD-10 code sets, Modern Healthcare reports.

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 new codes by Oct. 1, 2013.

According to AMA President Peter Carmel, "The implementation of ICD-10 will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patients' care." He added that switching to ICD-10 code sets "will add administrative expense and create unnecessary workflow disruptions." According to a 2008 study conducted by Nachimson Advisors, a three-physician practice would need to spend $83,290 to switch to ICD-10 code sets, and a 10-physician practice would need to spend $285,195.

  • Learn more about the IT Strategy Council's research on preparing for the ICD-10 transition, from confronting popular myths to overcoming common hurdles. The Advisory Board also is offering formal assistance to hospitals looking to create a blueprint for managing the transition to ICD-10.

Carmel also said that the "timing could not be worse" for the switch to ICD-10 because physicians already are working to adopt electronic health record systems to meet meaningful use requirements. He said AMA will "continue working to help physicians keep their focus where it should be—on their patients."

Reaction to AMA stance
CMS
maintains that it has given providers sufficient time to prepare for the ICD-10 transition. In the wake of AMA's vote, a CMS spokesperson said the agency "will continue to work with the health care community to ensure successful compliance."

Mike Davis  of the Advisory Board's IT Strategy Council notes that CMS has already delayed the ICD-10 transition date—it was initially slated for October 2012—and there is no precedent for the agency deferring the regulatory date a second time. As a result, there are no indications that CMS is shifting away from its October 2013 deadline for ICD-10, according to Davis (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 11/15 [subscription required]; Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 11/15; AMA release, 11/15; American Medical News, 11/15).

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