AMA to HHS: Stop ICD-10

AMA pushing to stop ICD-10On Thursday (2 February, 2012), James Madaram (executive VP and CEO of the AMA) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to stop the implementation of ICD-10 and to re-evaluate the timelines for other federal health IT initiatives.

Background

In November 2011, AMA's House of Delegates voted to block the transition to ICD-10 code sets, saying that the health care industry already is overburdened by requirements under the federal health reform law and IT incentive programs. The following week, AHIMA CEO Lynn Thomas Gordon responded with a public statement saying that “there are countless benefits that will come from the use of a 21st century classification system." The AMA then sent a letter to Congress in January 2012 asking lawmakers to block the federally mandated move to ICD-10. AHIMA responded with a call for stakeholders to maintain impetus towards ICD-10, warning that stakeholders who delayed action to see if Congress would act could risk missing the federally mandated deadlines.

AMA's latest letter

In Thursday's letter from AMA to HHS, Madara lays out detailed objections to ICD-10. He says that depending on their size, medical practices could spend between $83,290 and $2.7 million to implement ICD-10 code sets. He also observes that the timing of the coding transition "could not be worse" because many physicians already face challenges complying with three federal health IT programs. Madara writes, "In the wake of this onslaught of overlapping regulatory mandates and reporting requirements, HHS has an opportunity to ease the burdens on physician practices by halting the implementation of ICD-10 and calling on appropriate stakeholders, including physicians, hospitals [and] payers to assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9 within a reasonable time frame." Read the latest AMA letter here.