Is the Verdict Still Out on ICD-10 Implementation?

Posted on February 16, 2015 08:34 am CST

Bloomberg BNA
James Swann

ICD-10 implementation is set for Oct. 1, but having already been delayed twice, are we going to make it this time? I recently attended an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on transitioning to ICD-10, and judging by member comments, there’s a definite split over the possibility of another delay.

Subcommittee on Health Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), for example, said he supported moving forward on ICD-10 and said there should be no further delays. Pitts’ comments were echoed by ranking member Gene Green (D-Texas), and Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) said moving to ICD-10 will improve data collection and help the health-care system.

While there was support toward ICD-10 among the subcommittee members, there was also an equal amount of opposition. Reps. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), Joe L. Barton (R-Texas), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Billy Long (R-Mo.) all said they were concerned that ICD-10 might have a negative impact on physicians.

Griffith said ICD-10 might lead to a shortage of physicians, especially in rural areas, as physicians decide to stop practicing medicine rather than deal with the added paperwork of ICD-10. Burgess said he was especially worried that CMS wouldn’t be able to handle the transition to ICD-10, and wondered if there’s a contingency plan in place in case of problems, while Barton said ICD-10 implementation shouldn’t be mandatory for physicians.

Among the seven witnesses, all but one were supporters of ICD-10. Sue Bowman from AHIMA said that ICD-10 would help track patient health and help detect and prevent fraud through improved documentation. Carmella Bocchino from AHIP said further delays would lead to administrative challenges and increased costs for the health-care industry.


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