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The AMA, along with many regional medical societies, is urging Congress to include another ICD-10 implementation delay to a stalled appropriations bill during the current lame duck session.
The AMA, along with many regional medical societies, is urging Congress to include another ICD-10 implementation delay to a stalled appropriations bill during the current lame duck session. If unsuccessful, the medical societies could lobby to tack the ICD-10 delay onto Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) legislation in the first few months of 2015, according to Politico. Last April, a one-year ICD-10 delay was a last minute addition to SGR patch legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.
The Texas Medical Association posted a form letter on its website that members can send to Congress, requesting an October 2017 launch date for the new code set.
“It’s imperative that you contact your representative today and explain how you cannot afford the cost and disruption of ICD-10 implementation to your business, especially now, when you are buried in myriad other bureaucratic burdens,” Austin I. King, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association, wrote to members.
Advocates for keeping the ICD-10 implementation date at October 2015 say that another delay would be costly and leave the healthcare community with an outdated clinical documentation system. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) launched a social media push, asking supporters to tweet to Congress members in support of implementing ICD-10. Using the #ICD10Matters hashtag, AHIMA will host a Twitter rally on December 10 to encourage lawmakers not to delay the implementation date again.
In November, The Coalition for ICD-10, composed of 15 healthcare IT organizations and health plans wrote Congressional leaders requesting that the October 2015 implementation date remain intact.
“ICD-10 implementation delays have been disruptive and costly for all of the coalition members, as well as to healthcare delivery innovation, payment reform, public health, and health care spending. As you know, significant investments were made by members of our coalition to prepare for the October 2014 implementation prior to enactment of the most recent delay. Many of us had to quickly reconfigure systems and processes that were prepared to use ICD-10 back to ICD-9. Newly trained coders who graduated from ICD-10 focused programs were unprepared to find jobs using the older code set,” the letter stated.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that the one-year ICD-10 delay passed in April cost the healthcare system $6.8 billion, and additional delays could cost between $1 billion and $6.6 billion.