State Medical Societies Offer Recommendations for ICD-10 Transition

June 22, 2015 in News

Last week, four state medical societies sent a letter to CMS criticizing the upcoming ICD-10 transition and outlining a relief plan for its implementation, Modern Healthcare‘s “Vital Signs” reports (Conn, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 6/19).

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.

The letter came after the AMA House of Delegates earlier this month adopted a policy that calls for a two-year transition period for ICD-10. Under the policy, CMS would not withhold payments for coding mistakes made during the transition period (iHealthBeat, 6/9).

Details of Letter

The letter, addressed to CMS acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, was signed by officials from the:

  • California Medical Association;
  • Florida Delegation to the American Medical Association;
  • Medical Society of the State of New York; and
  • Texas Delegation to the AMA (Medical societies’ letter, 6/18).

The letter outlined several recommendations, including allowing a:

  • Two-year grace period from Medicare penalties related to mistakes and other “malfunctions of the system”;
  • Two-year grace period from Medicare payment audits because of ICD-10 coding errors; and
  • Two-year grace period during which physician payments will be exempt from penalties related to ICD-10 errors.

The groups also recommended allowing advanced payments in the case that physician payments are delayed (“Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 6/19).

The medical societies wrote, “We remain steadfast in our belief that the ICD-10 coding system offers no real advantages to physicians and our patients — and certainly no advantages to justify the time and expense the entire health care system has invested in this transition,” adding that “its forced implementation would not be worth the extensive disruptions in patient care that surely will come without the grace period” (Goodman, D Healthcare Daily, 6/22).

Tenn. Medical Association Provides ICD-10 Transition Assistance

In related news, the Tennessee Medical Association and other co-sponsoring organizations are providing a training program in six cities across the state to help health care providers through the ICD-10 transition, The Chattanoogan reports.

Certified ICD-10 trainers from the American Academy of Professional Coders will lead courses in several specialties, with up to eight hours of continuing education units offered for each session (The Chattanoogan, 6/19).

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