AMA moves to halt transition to ICD-10

Members of the American Medical Association (AMA) recently announced plans to oppose the impending transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10).

In a prepared statement, the AMA announced its plans to oppose the adoption of the ICD-10 codebase due to the pressures that medical providers face in implementing the new code. Reasons for the opposition include the existing pressure for hospitals and medical facilities to transition to medical informatics systems and health informaiton exchanges under government incentive programs.

“The implementation of ICD-10 will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patients’ care,” Peter Carmel, president of the AMA, said in a statement. “The timing could not be worse as many physicians are working to implement electronic health records into their practices. We will continue working to help physicians keep their focus where it should be – on their patients.”

According to a 2008 study, a small medical practice consisting of three or less physicians would need to spend approximately $83,000 to transition to the new codebase. Costs associated with adopting the ICD-10 code would grow as the numbers of doctors operating in a medical facility increased, with practices of 10 or more physicians needing to spend more than $285,000 to implement the new codebase.

Healthcare IT News reports that in addition to mounting pressure on healthcare facilities to adopt the new code by the October 2013 deadline, the 11th revision to the ICD code will follow shortly afterward, with a deadline of 2015. World Health Organization representative Bedirhan Üstün warned an audience of healthcare chief information officers at the 83rd American Health Information Management Association conference that many healthcare providers simply will not be ready for the ICD-11 implementation deadline.

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