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EHR and Meaningful Use Articles > AHIMA “extremely disappointed” with potential ICD-10 delay

AHIMA “extremely disappointed” with potential ICD-10 delay

Author | Date March 28, 2014

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and others are starting to express their frustration and displeasure with the idea of an additional delay to ICD-10.  As HR 4302 clears the House and heads to the Senate for a vote on Monday, AHIMA is adding its disapprobation to previous comments by the Coalition for ICD-10.

AHIMA “is extremely disappointed by today’s vote in the House that would delay ICD-10 for a minimum of one more year,” the organization said in its official statement. “The transition to ICD-10 is time sensitive because of the urgent need to keep up with tracking, identifying and analyzing new clinical services and treatments available to patients. Continued reliance on ICD-9 is not a viable option when considering the risk to public health and the danger of relying on outdated and imprecise data.”

“The healthcare industry has had an abundance of time to prepare for the transition to ICD-10. Many hospitals, healthcare systems, third-party payers and physicians’ offices have prepared in good faith and made enormous investments to be ready for the October 1, 2014, deadline and the transition to ICD-10, an essential and robust coding system that will lead to improved patient care, reduced costs and maximize the investments in electronic health records (EHRs) and health data exchange.”

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The Coalition for ICD-10, a group of professional societies and vendors committed to seeing ICD-10 implemented in 2014, has also added to the cries of dismay at the prospect of the abrupt delay.

“We are extremely disappointed with House passage of the provision to delay ICD-10,” said Richard Averill, Senior Vice President and Research Director at 3M Health Information Systems. “ICD-10 is the foundation for modernizing the U.S. health care system through higher quality information for measuring service quality, patient outcomes, safety, and efficiency. We have waited, literally, decades for adoption of ICD-10. The impact of today’s vote will be disruptive and costly to healthcare providers, payers, and vendors, who have worked diligently and at great expense to be compliant by October 2014. Another year’s delay is poor policy for our country and detrimental to the entire healthcare community.”

Other members of the Coalition, which include the American Hospital Association (AHA), BlueCross BlueShield Association, Siemens, and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) will be releasing statements independently.  Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO, President and CEO of the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), spoke to EHRintelligence yesterday to express his views.

“Further delay of ICD-10 discredits the considerable investment made by stakeholders across the country to modernize healthcare delivery,” he said. “Providers have already dedicated significant time and resources in financing, training and implementing the necessary changes to workflow and clinical documentation. Any disruption to the ICD-10 transition at this stage would be detrimental.”

Meanwhile, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) took the opposite view, with Robert Tennant, Senior Policy Advisor, telling EHRintelligence that the delay would be a beneficial development to providers, payers, and vendors who have been unable to adequately prepare for the shift.

“Right now, our indications are that the key trading partners of practices aren’t ready,” Tennant said.  “Software vendors, both of the practice management systems and the EHRs, aren’t ready. Health plans are simply not in the position to be able to do full end-to-end testing with physician practices or with Medicare.”

“There is no win across the board.  If they delay it, then those folks that are ready and that do agree with the change and want it…well, they’re not going to be happy.  But the reality is that we have to keep the healthcare system working.  And if you keep a hard date and the system fails, then that’s simply unacceptable.  The most important thing, at least in my mind, is that the claims continue to get paid and patients are seen.”

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