The American Medical Association, 42 state medical organizations and 40 medical specialty groups recently sent a letter urging CMS to halt the implementation of ICD-10 code sets, Bloomberg BNA reports (Swann, Bloomberg BNA, 1/9).
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 August 2012, HHS released a final rule that officially delayed the ICD-10 compliance date until Oct. 1, 2014 (iHealthBeat, 1/9).
In the letter -- which was sent to acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner -- the organizations wrote that the transition to ICD-10 code sets would impose an expensive burden on health care providers without improving patient care.
The letter also stated that physicians seeking to shift to ICD-10 codes run the risk of not complying with the:
- The electronic prescribing program;
- The Physician Quality Reporting System;
- Value-based modifier programs; and
- The meaningful use program.
Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments.
The organizations urged CMS to halt ICD-10 implementation and instead find an "appropriate replacement" for ICD-9 code sets (Fields, Becker's ASC Review, 1/10).
According to the letter, the replacement for ICD-9 code sets should:
- Be less costly for physicians; and
- Allow for full participation in other federal health IT programs (Bloomberg BNA, 1/9).
AMA Submits Comments on Stage 3 of Meaningful Use Program
In related news, AMA on Monday submitted a comment letter to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT about the Health IT Policy Committee's proposal for Stage 3 of the meaningful use program.
The letter outlined AMA's top five recommendations for improving the meaningful use program, calling for:
- The creation of an external, independent evaluation process to inform the future of the meaningful use program;
- An adjustment to the requirements for meeting certain measures to ensure that the thresholds are reasonable and achievable;
- Greater flexibility in program requirements to accommodate different practice patterns and specialties;
- Changes to the EHR certification process to address the usability of EHR systems; and
- Improvement to health IT infrastructure to facilitate the electronic sharing of patient data.
According to AMA Board Chair Steven Stack, the organization is concerned that the meaningful use program "is moving forward without a comprehensive evaluation of previous stages to resolve existing problems." Stack said, "A full evaluation of past stages and more flexible program requirements will help physicians in different specialties and practice arrangements successfully adopt and use EHRs" (AMA release, 1/14).