Anti-ICD-10 bill gets AMA support

'We appreciate your leadership on this important matter'
By Mike Miliard
04:04 PM
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The Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015, the bill filed earlier this month by Republican Texas Rep. Ted Poe that would prohibit HHS from replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10, has garnered the support of the American Medical Association.

"We support Rep. Poe’s bill," said Steven Stack, MD, incoming president of AMA, in an interview Friday with Healthcare Finance.

An earlier iteration of Poe's bill went nowhere in 2013. Most expect a similar fate for this version.

But another bill just filed in the House this week, a piece of legislation from Tennessee GOP Rep. Diane Black, calls for a glide path for providers if ICD-10 does indeed become the law of the land – essentially instituting an ICD-10 transition period.

Stack suggested that bill might be a second-best option from AMA's point of view.

Presuming HHS is successful in finally making the Oct. 1, 2015 compliance date stick, he told Healthcare Finance Associate Editor Susan Morse, "then we say there should be a period in which providers should be held harmless."

Stack takes the reins at AMA on June 9; he indicated that building Congressional support to scuttle ICD-10 would be one of his top to-dos.

"There’s an eternity between now and October in legislative parlance," he told Morse.

In the meantime, AMA is throwing its "strong support" behind Poe's swing-for-the-fences bill.

"The timing of the ICD-10 transition could not be worse as many physicians are currently spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records into their practices and adopting new payment and delivery models," wrote AMA's Executive Vice President and CEO James Madara, MD, in a May 14 letter to Poe.

"Managing the change to ICD-10 at the same time as these care innovations may force physicians to choose to update their code set in order to get paid over improving the quality of patient care," he wrote. "We believe your bill takes the prudent approach to set aside the implementation of ICD-10 and seek solutions that mitigate the disruption to physician practices when advancing to a new diagnostic code set."

Read Madara's letter here: