AHIMA Calls for Health Industry To Keep Up Transition to ICD-10

The American Health Information Management Association is urging the health care industry to continue working toward implementation of the ICD-10 coding system, despite the American Medical Association's efforts to block the coding change, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 1/30).

Background on ICD-10

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 codes.

Health care providers and insurers have until Oct. 1, 2013, to adopt new ICD-10 code sets.

AMA's Pushback

In November 2011, AMA's House of Delegates approved a resolution pledging to block the transition to ICD-10 code sets, saying the health care industry already is overburdened by federal requirements under the health reform law and health IT incentive programs.

Earlier this month, James Madara -- executive vice president and CEO of AMA -- sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) asking him to stop the implementation of the ICD-10 coding system. Madara said the ICD-10 transition would "create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patient care" (iHealthBeat, 1/26).

AHIMA's Stance

Dan Rode -- AHIMA vice president for advocacy and policy -- said in a statement that the transition to ICD-10 is "at the foundation of health care information changes underway in the U.S." He added, "Without ICD-10 data, there will be serious gaps in our ability to extract important patient health information that will give physicians and the health care industry measures for quality of care, provide important public health surveillance, support modern day research and move to a payment system based on quality and outcomes."

Rode also noted that halting ICD-10 implementation would lead to financial losses for health care providers, insurers, health IT vendors, the federal government and other entities that have invested in the ICD-10 transition (Walsh, CMIO, 1/30).

According to Rode, health care providers will risk missing the federal ICD-10 compliance deadline if they halt implementation of the code sets while waiting to see if Congress intervenes (Health Data Management, 1/30).

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