New Billing/Coding System: A Waste of Time and Money

Aug. 24, 2012


Please attribute the following to Michael E. Speer, MD, president of the Texas Medical Association (TMA). Dr. Speer’s statement is regarding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announcement requiring physicians to implement a new, arduous billing and coding system known as the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, version 10 (ICD-10). The new implementation date is Oct. 1, 2014.  

“We are extremely disappointed in today’s decision by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) forcing physicians to adopt ICD-10 — a 20-year-old boondoggle that only serves to help bureaucrats. It does nothing to improve patient care.

“Implementing the new coding system is a huge burden that deeply affects every practice. Instead of working with 13,500 diagnostic codes, we now will need to learn and use more than 70,000 different codes. For example, there are 480 codes for a fractured kneecap alone — up from a grand total of two in the current system.

“In addition, it is expensive. Switching to ICD-10 can cost solo physicians as much as $83,000 each, and group practices of up to 10 doctors as much as $250,000.

“The timing of the transition could not be worse, as many physicians already are spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records in their practices, meeting meaningful use regulations, adapting to a host of new Medicare and Medicaid policies, and hurdling other administrative burdens created by the new health law.”

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TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing nearly 46,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. 


Contact: Pam Udall
phone: (512) 370-1382
cell: (512) 413-6807

Brent Annear
phone: (512) 370-1381
cell: (512) 656-7320


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