AMA Fights Against ICD-10

27 Dec

Medical professionals already have their hands full with healthcare reform, they don’t have ample time or resources to comply to changes that come with ICD-10. That’s, in essence, what The American Medical Association’s House of Delegates is saying in their opposition to the demands associated with the mandatory switchover to the International Classification of Diseases 10th Revision family of diagnostic and procedural codes.

The association voted to “work vigorously to stop implementation” of ICD-10, not only due to healthcare reform, but also the federal push for doctors to adopt electronic health-record systems.

“The implementation of ICD-10 will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patients’ care,” said AMA President Dr. Peter W. Carmel in a written statement from the association’s nearly week-long policy meeting in New Orleans.

“At a time when we are working to get the best value possible for our healthcare dollar, this massive and expensive undertaking will add administrative expense and create unnecessary workflow disruptions,” said Mr.Carmel. “The timing could not be worse as many physicians are working to implement electronic health records into their practices. We will continue working to help physicians keep their focus where it should be – on their patients.”

Without giving a name, the AMA cited a study from 2008 that found that a three-physician practice would spend $83,290 to implement ICD-10, and a 10-physician practice would spend $285,195.

With the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record initiative, there are incentive payment programs under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 for doctors. However, with the transfer from ICD-9 to ICD-10 there are no funds made available to offset costs.

The deadline for the switch to ICD-10 is October 1, 2013. That date has already been pushed back once. The CMS continues to stand by its stance that they have given healthcare providers enough time to make the transition to ICD-10.

“Implementation of this new coding system will mean better information to improve the quality of healthcare and more accurate payments to providers,” said a CMS spokesman. “We will continue to work with the healthcare community to ensure successful compliance.”