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ICD-10 supporters debunk skip to ICD-11


Healthcare organizations advocating for ICD-10 continue to defend any argument against the coding system that could again delay its October 2015 implementation. The latest battle pits The Coalition for ICD-10 against those that want the United States to skip over ICD-10 and to wait to implement ICD-11.

The Coalition for ICD-10, which includes 22 coding societies, hospitals, health plans and health IT vendors, is on the defense as rumors swirl that another ICD-10 delay could be included in upcoming sustainable growth rate legislation this spring. As the rest of the world readies to implement ICD-11, which will be completed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, the coalition explains why the coding system is not a good leap for the U.S.

The U.S. version of ICD-10 was created after years of modifications, comment periods, and revisions that added policies and procedures used by the healthcare system in this country. A blog post on the coalition’s website explains how it could take more than four decades to implement ICD-11.

“The modification of the WHO version of ICD-10 for use in the U.S. took eight years. It was another eleven years before the regulatory process of proposed rules and comment periods was completed and the issuance of a final rule establishing ICD-10 as the HIPAA standard code set. The ICD-10 final rule gave the industry three years to get ready for ICD-10 implementation. Two one-year delays have now pushed the time allotted for preparation to five years. Based on the ICD-10 timeline, ICD-11 would not be implemented until 2041,” the blogpost said.

Referencing a 2013 report from the American Medical Association (AMA), one of ICD-10’s biggest detractors, the coalition agrees that implementing ICD-10 will help the move to ICD-11 go smoother.

“Learning the medical concepts, training efforts, and overall implementation efforts for ICD-11 will be more challenging if ICD-10 is not implemented first,” the AMA report said. “Focusing solely on moving from ICD-9 to ICD-11 risks missing the opportunity to educate physicians and leaving them unprepared for the anticipated transition to ICD-10, which could result in significant cash flow disruptions which could result in significant cash flow disruptions.”

The AMA has been working with regional societies since November of 2014 on a letter writing campaign to Congress asking members to delay the coding system for a third time. AMA President Robert Wah, MD, spoke to delegates in November of 2014 referencing Star Wars, calling the coding system a droid that would serve Darth Vader.

“For more than a decade, the AMA kept ICD-10 at bay – and we want to freeze it in carbonite,” Wah said.

Not to be outdone, the Coalition for ICD-10 references Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot saying that the battle to stop another ICD-10 delay hinders all of healthcare: “Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”

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