TMA is glad the federal government postponed adoption of the ICD-10 coding system until 2014 but believes it should skip ICD-10 for a more up-to-date coding system. If officials don't do that, then they should delay ICD-10 even longer. That was the message TMA delivered in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on May 11.
The letter from TMA President C. Bruce Malone, MD, says the association fears adopting ICD-10 will be expensive and disrupt physicians' practices without offering any benefit. Dr. Malone urged officials "to forego the adoption of ICD-10 and instead either implement ICD-11 data code sets or SNOMED with an appropriate translator program for converting to ICD-11, when these become possible. In the alternative, should the department move ahead with ICD-10, TMA urges the ICD-10 implementation date be delayed by a period of greater than one-year."
Dr. Malone told officials they should "recognize that the costs of going to ICD-11 directly are less than incurring the remaining costs of implementing ICD-10 in 2014 and then implementing SNOMED as a possible alternative to ICD-10 or 11 sometime soon thereafter." He added that the "positive benefits from efficiencies obtained through automated electronic medical record (EMR) coding capabilities that will come with ICD-11 (and the accompanying savings) should be factored into the department's decision-making."
He cited an April 12 Health Affairs article that called the ICD-10 conversion "expensive, arduous, disruptive, and of limited direct clinical benefit."
Because of objections from TMA and others, federal officials delayed ICD-10 adoption from October 2013 to October 2014. However, they said they expect everyone eventually to begin using ICD-10.
TMA advises you to begin preparing as if there is no delay so you will be ready when and if ICD-10 takes effect. TMA will offer a variety of training opportunities including live seminars, hands-on workshops, and live and on-demand webinars once the new implementation deadline is confirmed. These educational opportunities will begin as a broad introduction to ICD-10 and narrow in scope and topic as the deadline approaches.
TMA now offers an easy-to-use electronic ICD-9 to ICD-10 GEMs mapping software to help practices with the transition. The downloadable tool will help you quickly and easily identify which ICD-10 codes replace the ICD-9 codes your practice uses now. It allows you to:
- Search by code, code description, or key words;
- Create and save a "favorites" list of commonly used codes; and
- Develop and print quick reference lists.
TMA Practice Consulting is available for customized and private, on-site training programs, as well. Call (800) 523-8776.
Action, May 15, 2012