AMA Vigorously Opposes 2013 ICD-10 Implementation

During its 65th Interim Meeting in New Orleans, the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) House of Delegates formally resolved to “vigorously work to stop the implementation of ICD-10 and to reduce its unnecessary and significant burdens on the practice of medicine.” The AMA cited cost as the most significant of those burdens.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated an Oct. 1, 2013 implementation date of the ICD-10 code set for all health care providers. ICD-10 more than quadruples the number of codes in the current ICD-9. The increased specificity of ICD-10 is expected to improve the quality of health care data and subsequently improve clinical, financial, and administrative outcomes.

ICD-10 also introduces new complexity into health care, will require providers to document patient encounters to greater detail, and will be costly to implement. A 2008 study found that a small three-physician practice would need to spend $83,290 to implement ICD-10, while a 10-physician practice would spend $285,195 to make the coding change.

“At a time when we are working to get the best value possible for our health care dollar, this massive and expensive undertaking will add administrative expense and create unnecessary workflow disruptions,” said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, M.D., in a press release.

“The timing could not be worse as many physicians are working to implement electronic health records into their practices,” Carmel continued. The AMA represents many physicians in smaller groups, who are less able to bear the costs of ICD-10 implementation, “meaningful use” requirements, and other mandates. Further, Carmel stated that ICD-10 would have “no direct benefit to individual patients’ care.”

The AMA would support a new code set, however, and also resolved to “work with other national and state medical and informatics associations to assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9.”

Once before, CMS heeded a call from the AMA to delay ICD-10 implementation, from Oct. 1, 2011 to the current date. Since then, CMS has repeatedly announced that there will be no further delay.


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12 Responses to “AMA Vigorously Opposes 2013 ICD-10 Implementation”

  1. Candy Gilbert says:

    Why didn’t the AMA start this years ago. I have been hearing for probably 5 years or more that ICD10’s were coming. They should have voiced all of this starting then. Now the ball is rolling and CMS does not want to stop it.

  2. Rita Ross says:

    It is a shame that one person can hold so much power over our health needs. Our physician’s and hospitals must abide to CMS. I understand that we need to make some corrections to our benefits but forcing them to use ICD-10 to collect more information about each persons health so that CMS can determine who to treat and who not to treat. ICD-10 does not benefit our health care, it is an unneccessary expensive to Physicians, hospitals and very expensive for the coders to learn. ICD-10 is truly not a health issue but a money making issue for some and a more government control over all our lives.

  3. Frances E. Petschauer, CPC says:

    What in the world is the AMA doing? Talk about double-talk — I am going to be at an AMA workshop tomorrow and Friday and one whole day is devoted to the ICD-10 implementation. What they need to be doing is telling their members it is coming and get on board rather than waiting til now to decide to push the panic button and start trying to stop it — I sincerely hope that CMS stands their ground with the no more push-back dates. Too much time, money and preparation has already gone into this transition to turn back now. Every time there has been a change in the way things are done, someone has decided at the last minute to try to stop the change. AMA whined in 2011 and got it blocked but they were told then that there would be no more push back dates for the implementation. Why should those who have been working toward this and doing what we need to do to get ready have to put our plans (not including wasting all of the money that has already been spent) on hold just because one organization has now decided it doesn’t want to play by the rules? This is not just a CMS mandate, this is part of the HIPAA. Maybe what needs to happen is CMS needs to tell the physicians if they don’t comply with the planned implementation, they could be subject to the termination of their contracts? Wonder how fast they would get ready for ICD-10 then? AMA — it is coming and you and your members need to get on board the ICD-10 train and stop trying to pacify your members.

  4. Terry Jay says:

    It has been my experience over the years that two things and two things only spur doctors to action: threats to their ego and threats to their money. Nuff said.

  5. Rita Bridge says:

    I think ICD-10 is a ridiculous idea and has been for the 10+ years it’s been bandied about. Most physicians cannot document in enought detail anyway, so what makes CMS think they will start in 2013? Enough is enough. There is plenty to work on getting right before we leap into this.

  6. Julie Plath says:

    I am currently a student just completing a 9-month MIBC program and can then sit for the AAPC national certification. We have been taught ICD-9 and, knowing the upcoming CMS deadline, had wondered why this would be so or why some portion of the course, at least, is devoted to ICD-10. If adoption of ICD-10 is important to be consistent globally and is the way of the future, then it becomes understandable. However, if it only increases specificity for the purposes of statistics, then it becomes a matter of justifying the expense.

    With medical care, Medicare, Medicaid, already struggling to meet costs, I think a deferment, at least, should be considered.

  7. Lynda Hartley CPC says:

    This reminds me of the complaining, excuses and repeated requests for the delay in the implementation of HIPPA and standardized code sets. Same arguments are being used for ICD-10 implementation delay requests. There has already been a 2 year delay in the implementation of ICD-10, I hope CMS will stick to their decision to implement on 10/1/2013. There has already been too much work done by both health care providers and health insurance companies to delay the implementation as that would be as costly for those ready to implement as to those who have put off the process in hopes of getting repeated delays and crossing their fingers that the implementation will never happen. CMS hold the line on this one.

  8. Larry Field DO, MBA, CPC, CHC says:

    You are all forgetting to ask one question. What is the purpose of converting to ICD10?
    Just because the rest of the world follows WHO blindly, should we? maybe.
    Is the code set for ICD10 in the US the same as everyone else’s? NO, we have many additional ones.
    Most importantly, what have been the results in terms of quality improvement or cost efficiency by utilizing ICD10? NONE.
    This should have been outed many years ago.

  9. Linda Myers, CPC says:

    I agree that it is almost too late to stop the implementation at this time. There already has been much money and time spent by insurance companies, Medicare, doctors and especially coders and coding instructors on learning the new system and getting prepared. The one big issue has been said by others is that doctors will not change the way they dictate so giving them more codes will not be the answer as they will not get for the most part specific enough to use the new codes. Many physicians are set in their dictation patterns and are unlikely to change which will cause huge headaches for coders who have to try to determine the appropriate codes. It looks like this is a way for many organizations who offer consulting and ICD-10 education to makes lots of money.

  10. Kari Morandi says:

    If the AMA is against ICD-10, why don’t they propose that US providers use the code set the same way they do in other places around the world. I read recently that Germany, which uses ICD-10, only uses, at most, one digit after the period. That may not be as much specificity as the codes allow, but it seems to work for Germany (of course, they only have one payer, not hundreds).

  11. Nancy G says:

    Perhaps everyone in favor to keep this change going might feel a bit different if they are slammed Jan 1, 2012 with a 27% pay cut in Medicare payments to physicians. You know the insurance companies will follow suit and begin the same thing. Implementation of medical records, changes to 5010 and now this, ICD-10 is very costly, time consuming and yes-expensive. I don’t see any hand outs from the CMS offereing to pay for training or other requirements that we will encounter. CMS and other insurace plans have made it ridiculous to the point of jumping through hoops to accomplish the correct way they want things done. When you have a smaller staff, life in the office just does NOT stop, so we can prepare for all of this. Ah, and don’t forget…once we get it figured out (if we can still afford to practice) they will change all the tules, because the last thing anything CMS and carriers want is for you to full understand. Isn’t that the game plan?
    I suppose these folks think that physicians office has no overhead costs, either. Instead of helping us prepare…nah, they want to give us a huge pay cut (once again). I so look forward to the day I can retire or re-train in something else because this is about the last straw! Oh no, wait-if we get Obama care, then everything can be dictated to us by the governemnt. Just sayin!

  12. Kelly V. CPC says:

    I agree with Nancy; Obama Care = one big HMO with the answer of NO….claim denied. It will not matter how detailed the doctor’s dictate. Patient’s will suffer; that is the bottom line! With this economy….who will be able to pay out of pocket for services that will be much needed – but denied. I see a big mess coming!

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