ICD-10 Conflict Taking the Form of a World Heavyweight Title Fight

Posted on by Frank J. Rosello

The battle between industry and association over ICD-10 is imminent.

Imagine the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas filled to capacity with enthusiastic fans awaiting the start of an epic boxing match. A heavyweight title fight for the ages that is sure to go down in history as one of the best of all time. Of course, a main event of this magnitude must begin with the distinct voice of legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer’s claim-to-fame cadence – “Let’s Get Ready to Rumble…..”

Let’s meet the contestants:

In one corner stand the provider organizations with the American Medical Association (AMA), for the moment, taking the lead role in the battle.  But take note that the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) both has similar views. The common ground shared by all provider organizations is that physician practices and providers will ultimately be the ones incurring the cost and owning the responsibility of implementing ICD-10.  The key issue the AMA has voiced is that ICD-10 implementation offers no direct benefit to patient’s care and that the conversion will create a significant burden on the practice of medicine.

In the other corner stand the industry organizations with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) currently assuming the lead role in the battle. It does appear that perhaps the Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) may join the AHIMA in the fight in the not so distant future. The AHIMA’s position is very clear – Stay the course with ICD 10 implementation.

Now it’s very early in this fight but CMS promise on ICD-10 stirs the pot.  CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said on February 14th that CMS would take another look at the timeline for converting from the ICD-9 billing code set to ICD-10.

Is there a downside of an ICD-10 delay?

Sure there is.  One downside not mentioned in the above article link is that any significant delay to the current ICD-10 implementation deadline could raise the implementation cost to medical practices.  Another downside is the United States is already a decade behind the rest of the world in using the most up-to-date International Disease Classification System – ICD-10.  Can the United States continue to remain behind the rest of the world knowing that the ICD-11 beta is projected sometime in the 2014-2015 time frame?

Whether the government moves to delay ICD-10 implementation or not, the time is now for medical practices to review their health IT systems / infrastructure and develop a strategy to optimize those systems to make the transition to ICD-10 easier. ICD-10 is a critical component to all the healthcare initiatives currently underway to transition the healthcare system to the 21st century.  There’s really no point in moving forward with the other initiatives if the data that is being pushed out remains in ICD-9 format.

Frank J. Rosello

is CEO & Co-Founder of Environmental Intelligence LLC.

Environmental Intelligence, LLC, is a complete, full-service healthcare IT solution provider. With a team having more than 10 years of proven clinical expertise in delivering end-to-end health IT solutions, Environmental Intelligence provides medical practices and facilities onsite expert IT consulting, installation, and implementation that is focused on physicians, their patients, and the quality of their care.

Contact us to learn more about our Physician Focused – Patient Driven® approach to Health IT.

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