AMA Asks HHS to Make AAPC an ICD-10 Partner
The American Medical Association (AMA) recently asked that AAPC be added as a Cooperating Party in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) committee responsible for development and maintenance of ICD-10 codes, guidelines, and descriptions.
In a letter to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara asks the agency to add AAPC as a cooperating party because the professional association, “has the necessary expertise, experience and can serve as the voice of physicians lacking in today’s Cooperating Parties.” Cooperating parties making up the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics; the American Hospital Association (AHA); and the American Health Information Association (AHIMA). The parties are responsible for the development and maintenance of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) code set mandated for use in the United States.
“AAPC’s 141,000 [now 153,000] members represent the highest level of expertise in the industry in the areas of medical coding, medical billing, medical auditing, compliance, and practice management,” Madara said in the letter. The letter maintains the Coordination and Maintenance Committee under-represents physicians and providers who work in the outpatient setting, while focusing on hospitals and other facilities. “This lack of representation is especially concerning given that the transition to ICD-10 will be most challenging for physicians and small practices,” said Madara.
Being made a partner would also help AAPC members, Jaci Johnson Kipreos, president of the organization’s National Advisory Board, said. Representation at coordination and maintenance meetings will help coders better contribute to the development of the codes they use to establish medical necessity. “This represents a huge success in the growth of AAPC as well as recognizes the importance and contribution of its members,” she said.
Rhonda Buckholtz, vice president of strategic development for AAPC, said, “With payment reforms and changes in the coding system, it is now vital for the cooperating parties to contain inclusion of physician coding representation, and AAPC is the best equipped to do that.”