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ICD-10 Coalition opposes ICD-10 delay in SGR patch

By Kyle Murphy, PhD

The latest attempt by Congress to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) has irked a coalition of healthcare organizations allied to oppose any attempt to further delay the start of ICD-10, dubbed the Coalition for ICD-10.

“We are extremely dismayed that this provision was included solely for political reasons – not because it is sound policy,” Senior Director, Coding Policy and Compliance for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA, said in a public statement. “An overwhelming majority of the health care community has made enormous investments into being ready for adoption in October – and we can’t afford to lose all that effort.”

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Yesterday, AHIMA sent word to its members and other industry stakeholders about a provision in a bill before Congress —“Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” — that would delay the adoption of ICD-10 until October 2015. As it turns out, the association is one of a dozen healthcare companies and advocacy groups that have banded together in opposition of additional delays to ICD-10 implement:

• Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed)
• American Hospital Association (AHA)
• American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
• BlueCross BlueShield Association
• College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME)
• Health IT Now Coalition
• Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA)
• 3M Health Information Systems
• Roche Diagnostics Corporation
• Siemens Health Services
• WellPoint

These healthcare organizations recently wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to show their support for the Oct. 1, 2014 implementation date earlier this month. When they got wind of the fact that the latest SGR repeal contained Section 212 and its intention to delay ICD-10 by another year, they were once again vocal in their opposition.

“Further delay of ICD-10 discredits the considerable investment made by stakeholders across the country to modernize healthcare delivery,” added CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO. “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.”

His comments were echoed by Richard Averill, Senior Vice President and Research Director, 3M Health Information Systems, who called attention to how the move would lead to the squandering of time, energy, and resources by healthcare organizations and providers working toward the October 2014 deadline.

“The healthcare industry has made significant investments in the ICD-10 transition,” he explained. “If there is any delay, ICD-9-CM versions of systems will have to be updated to remain current. This will require any ICD-10 conversion work already performed to be updated, retested, and reintegrated – greatly increasing the cost of conversion.”

UPDATE: After this morning’s proceedings led to a postponement of a vote on HR 4302, the bill was reconsidered this afternoon and passed by a voice vote.

CHIME Senior Director of Public Policy Sharon F. Canner has offered the following comment:

The House vote this morning to extend the deadline for implementing ICD-10 by one year is a real disappointment to CHIME members, who have long prepared for ICD-10, installing new systems, training staff and otherwise making the needed changes that will affect patient care.

Stay tuned.




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