Groups express support, concern over ICD-10 delay

By Erin McCann
10:41 AM
Share

The Department of Health and Human Services' Aug. 24 decision finalizing a one-year delay for the ICD-10 switchover has elicited both favor and concern among industry groups.  

The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), for example, is one organization that has expressed concerns over HHS’ decision to push the compliance date for ICD-10 – which includes some 155,000 codes for new procedures and diagnoses – back to Oct. 1, 2014, citing increased physician burden as a significant worry. 

“Despite the additional year for ICD-10 implementation, MGMA remains concerned that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has mandated this new code set without having undertaken the necessary due diligence to ensure it will not create debilitating cash flow disruptions for physician practices,” said Susan Turney, MD, president and CEO of MGMA-ACMPE.  

[See also: HHS announces one-year delay for ICD-10 .]

“We are not confident that critical trading partners, including Medicare and state Medicaid plans, will be ready in time to conduct testing well in advance of the October 2014 compliance date. We urge CMS to significantly escalate its implementation efforts by pilot testing ICD-10, ensuring health plan, clearinghouse and vendor readiness, and developing comprehensive educational resources,” added Turney. 

MGMA-ACMPE represents upwards of 22,500 members, both professional administrators and leaders of medical group practices, and more than 280,000 physicians. 

Other groups, however, have expressed support for the ICD-10 compliance date pushback. 

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), for instance, expressed positive sentiments regarding the ICD-10 delay. “Overall CHIME applauds the efforts of HHS to quickly and decisively signal a commitment to ICD-10 conversion and we urge the Department to develop a clear path forward, with benchmarks, so that healthcare industry stakeholders can make the conversion in 2014," said CHIME president and CEO Rich Correll. 

[See also: Finalized ICD-10 delay keeps process moving forward by keeping CFOs engaged.]

Back in April, CHIME submitted comments urging the CMS to keep the one-year ICD-10 delay, as they said anything longer would be disruptive to any efforts moving toward the change. “CHIME is pleased that CMS understood the importance of finalizing its proposed one year delay for compliance to ICD-10,” Correll added. 

CHIME is an executive organization, representing upwards of 1,400 CIO members and 70 healthcare IT vendors and firms. 

Other group responses aired more on the end of neutral acceptance. 

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), for example, pledged it support for the healthcare community in light of the ICD-10 ruling, despite not originally being in favor of the delay. 

“We were not in favor of a delay at all, from the very beginning," said Melanie Endicott, director, HIM Solutions at AHIMA. "But since there is a delay, we’re glad it’s just one year.”

HHS' ruling "gives the healthcare community the certainty and clarity it needs to move forward with implementation, testing and training,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon. “We realize that a few are still apprehensive about the implementation process, and that is why AHIMA remains committed to assisting the healthcare community with its transition to a new code set that will lead to improved patient care and reduced costs."

Endicott cited the heightened costs of providing one more year of additional training and education for providers and coders alike as a downside to the ICD-10 delay. “We feel that were a lot of healthcare entities that were ready for the Oct. 1, 2013, and delaying it a year is just causing increased costs to them,” she said.

[See also: New HHS rule targets HIPAA, standardization the goal.]

With the new decision, however, AHIMA, which represents more than 64,000 specially educated Health Information Management professionals worldwide, is gearing up to provide increased education and resources to all the different medical settings.

The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) also released a statement, writing that the ICD-10 compliance delay "provides clarity that will allow organizations to properly allocate their resources to meet the new deadline.  Given the role ICD-10 has in providing impactful data that will support quality improvements needed for healthcare transformation, HIMSS supports active participation by all community partners in preparation for the ICD-10 transition."