AMA Lobbies Sebelius to Stop ICD-10

07 Feb

The American Medical Association is doing what it can to halt implementation of the ICD-10 code sets. They are doing so by sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Signed by AMA executive vice president and CEO James Madara, M.D., the letter also asks Sebelius to reexamine penalty timelines associated with multiple Medicare health IT initiatives that are underway.

“The timing of the ICD-10 transition that is scheduled for October 1, 2013, could not be worse as many physicians are currently spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records into their practices,” says Madara.

Madara points out that adoption of the ICD-10 codes is an unfunded mandate that will cost medical practices between $83,000 to $2.7 million to implement (depending on their size). He also invoked President Obama’s executive order that calls for federal agencies to reassess and streamline regulations.

“This is a perfect opportunity for HHS to make good on its commitment to improve the regulatory climate for physicians,” says Madara.

Madara noted that physician investments in government-sponsored EHR meaningful use, electronic prescribing and quality reporting programs coincide with falling Medicare payment rates and tough penalty programs for failing to comply.

“Physicians are being required to meet separate requirements under these three overlapping health IT programs and have been and will be unfairly penalized if they decide to participate in one program over the other.”

Madara had just issued a similar appeal to House Speaker John Boehner.