Last week, the Texas Medical Association sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging the federal government to forgo the implementation of ICD-10 code sets and consider adopting different coding standards, Modern Healthcare reports (Conn, Modern Healthcare, 5/15).
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.
In April, HHS announced that it would delay the deadline for complying with ICD-10 standards by one year, to Oct. 1, 2014. HHS said it decided to push back the compliance date partly in response to health care providers' concerns that they would not be able to meet the initial deadline.
The comment period on the new ICD-10 compliance date ends May 17 (iHealthBeat, 5/14).
In the letter, TMA wrote that HHS either should wait to implement the ICD-11 code sets -- which are expected to be released in 2015 -- or adopt the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine-Clinical Terms, or SNOMED-CT.
C. Bruce Malone, president of TMA, said, "The U.S. did not adopt the ICD-10 coding system 20 years ago when the standard was state-of-the-art," adding, "Now it's nearing obsolescence."
Malone added that HHS "should recognize that the costs of going to ICD-11 directly are less than incurring the remaining costs of implementing ICD-10 in 2014 and then implementing ICD-11 sometime soon thereafter."
If HHS opts to move forward with implementing ICD-10, TMA recommended that the compliance deadline be delayed by "a period of greater than one year" (Modern Healthcare, 5/15).