Healthcare Coalition Responds to Anti-ICD-10 Bills

AHIMA and several other organizations have contacted Congressional leaders in the House and Senate urging their continued support for the current ICD-10-CM/PCS compliance date of October 1, 2014 in response to two bills that call for a halt in the implementation of the new code set.

On April 24, US House of Representative’s member Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced the “Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013” (HR 1701). Poe’s bill calls for the Department of Health and Human Services to not “implement, administer, or enforce” ICD-10-CM/PCS as a replacement for ICD-9-CM and calls upon the General Accountability Office to “in consultation with stakeholders in the medical community…conduct a study to identify steps that can be taken to mitigate the disruption on health care providers resulting from a replacement of ICD-9 as such a standard.”

In the Senate, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and three co-sponsors introduced what appears to be a similar bill (S 972) on May 16.  The text of this bill has not yet been submitted for public review.

The coalition letters sent to representatives  in the US House and Senate by AHIMA and other healthcare stakeholders like 3M, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, and Siemens Health Services highlights the value of the ICD-10-CM/PCS conversion and discusses how the industry has spent four years and millions of dollars toward implementing the code set.

“Although many of the signatories to this letter were at odds over the timing of implementation when the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics (NCVHS) and HHS embraced ICD-10–which has already been adopted outside the U.S. worldwide–we are now in agreement that any delay or deviation from the October 1, 2014 compliance date would be disruptive and costly for health care delivery innovation, payment reform, public health, and health care spending,” the letter said.

The coalition has also undertaken a number of visits to Capitol Hill in support of no further delay in ICD-10.

“We are watching this activity very closely,” said Dan Rode, MBA, CHPS, FHFMA, AHIMA’s vice president for advocacy and policy. “But we are not ready to panic, and we see no reason for HIPAA entities and others to not continue their efforts toward testing and final implementation in accord with the October 1, 2014 compliance date.”

Rode noted that the majority of bills introduced into Congress each year never make it past committee.  He also noted that several state health information management associations are working with local healthcare providers and payers to ensure their readiness, and AHIMA is ready to call on members to update members of Congress if needed.

A recent announcement by the American Medical Association Board of Trustees stated that moving directly from ICD-9 to ICD-11, as some anti-ICD-10 advocates and the AMA previously supported, is “fraught with its own pitfalls” and not recommended. Some saw this as a sign that momentum had swung toward meeting the October 1, 2014 compliance date, Rode said.

However, Rode echoed AHIMA’s ongoing concern that the news of these ICD-10 delay or abandonment bills would cause entities that have not begun implementation to yet again halt and wait to find out if the new bills pass. That is not recommended and would jeopardize an organization’s financial and clinical readiness for using the new code set, Rode said.

“We are always careful to watch Congress,” Rode said. “I can assure AHIMA members that we will continue to watch these actions as well.” Rode reiterated that AHIMA members should continue to be vigilant on opposing these bills, but not stop progress toward testing, training, and implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS.

4 Comments

  1. Great, they want to hold up progress again, and put us even further behind the rest of the world who have already been using ICD-10 for years! Our statistics will not match up and will be even more unreliable.

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  2. We have come so far and spent so much. Instead of halting progress at this late stage, Congress should help by allocating funds to assist Medical Entities in the massive cost to train staff, hire extra staff, update software etc. The only problem with ICD-10 is the UNFUNDED part of the mandate.

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  3. Agreed, this is critical to move from a volume healthcare system to a VALUED healthcare system and ICD 10 starts that progression with continued momentum. The new healthcare system requires consistent and granular data (coded, clinical, financial) that can be compared across the continuum of a patient’s care so that quality can be improved and innovated technology can reduce costs- it is all very exciting.

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  4. Changing to the ICD-10 is so costly as a coder trying to ed. yourself on it is a nightmare congress should offer something in our field

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