AMA petitions HHS for additional extension of ICD-10 deadline

Officials at the American Medical Association (AMA) have requested that the federal government extend the deadline for the transition to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) codebase by two years, reports Healthcare IT News.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicated they would extend the deadline for compliance with the new system by one year to October 2013. However, officials at the AMA believe this extension is not sufficient, and that a two-year delay would benefit healthcare providers transitioning to the new codes.

In a letter to the CMS, AMA officials stated that regulatory compliance issues faced by care organizations have been exacerbated by numerous federal incentives, such as the meaningful use medical informatics program. An extension of the ICD-10 deadline could offer healthcare providers some breathing room, both logistically and financially.

The AMA suggested that alternative approaches to implementing new medical billing codes be explored in the lead up to the full transition, and recommended the CMS introduce a system where stakeholders, physicians and healthcare executives can assess alternatives to migrating to the ICD-10 codebase.

However, despite the AMA’s request to further delay the transition to ICD-10, several prominent healthcare IT advocacy groups have voiced their concerns over extensions of the deadline. According to Government Health IT, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) recently urged the CMS to progress with the existing deadline of October 2013.

“ICD-9 is antiquated and no longer adequately meets the challenge of a 21st-century healthcare system,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, chief executive officer of CHIME, as quoted by the news source. “ICD-10 should be implemented in a timely manner, and AHIMA is ready to continue assisting the healthcare community to prepare for the transition. We also encourage advance testing of the ICD-10 codes to be sure there are no further delays in the implementation deadline.”

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