Coalition: ICD-10 could put many small practices in economic jeopardy

Nearly 40 national physician groups are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) to quash the implementation of ICD-10 for outpatient diagnosis and coding.

Nearly 40 national physician groups are calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to quash implementation plans of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), for outpatient diagnosis coding.

The groups argue that physicians should not have to shoulder the economic and management burdens the new code sets create, reports the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). ICD-10 is expected to increasing the number of diagnostic codes by nearly five-fold-from 13,000 to 68,000.

In a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, the American Medical Association-led coalition argues that this new disease classification system will force many doctors in small practices out of business without a direct benefit to patient care.

And the October 1, 2014, implementation date is coming at a time when physicians face steep payment cuts due to an unresolved sustainable growth rate formula and another 2% sequestration cut to Medicare reimbursements due to deficit reduction measures. Factor in future penalties for failing to attest to meaningful use, value-based modifier programs, and Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) penalties, and it simply compounds the economic pressure for doctors, the groups say.

“The timing of the ICD-10 transition could not be worse as many physicians are currently spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health record systems into their practices.

“The number of financial, technological, and operation pressures physicians are facing today could also adversely impact physicians participation rates in new delivery and payment reform models intended to support higher quality, lower costs and more efficient care.”