AMA Officials ‘Strongly Support’ Bill To Block ICD-10 Implementation

May 18, 2015 in News

Last week, American Medical Association officials announced their support for a bill (HR 2126) that seeks to halt the implementation of new ICD-10 code sets, Healthcare IT News reports (Miliard, Healthcare IT News, 5/15).

Background

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 by Oct. 1. A recent study found that a majority of health care executives have said they expect ICD-10 to launch by that deadline.

The Coalition for ICD-10 has come out against any further delays of the implementation deadline and has launched an effort to get consumers to contact their congressional representatives to support the new code sets.

However, Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) earlier this month introduced the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015, which would prohibit HHS from adopting ICD-10 as a replacement to ICD-9 (iHealthBeat, 5/5).

AMA Comments

On Thursday, AMA’s Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara sent a letter to Poe expressing the association’s “strong support” for the bill.

Madara wrote, “The timing of the ICD-10 transition could not be worse as many physicians are currently spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records into their practices and adopting new payment and delivery models.” He added, “We believe your bill takes the prudent approach to set aside the implementation of ICD-10 and seek solutions that mitigate the disruption to physician practices when advancing to a new diagnostic code set” (Healthcare IT News, 5/15).

Meanwhile, in an interview with Healthcare Finance on Friday, incoming AMA President Steven Stack reiterated the association’s favorable view of the bill, saying, “We support Rep. Poe’s bill … We strongly support that.”

Stack said, “We believe the problems associated with ICD-10 are so substantial, our policy is we should not move forward with ICD-10.” Instead, he said the industry should wait for ICD-11 “and get it done properly” (Morse, Healthcare Finance, 5/15).

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