Proposed ICD-10 extension opposed by AHIMA

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Officials at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) have announced that they will advise against an extension to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10) transition deadline, reports Healthcare IT News.

Senior members of the AHIMA have voiced concerns regarding the proposed extension to the ICD-10 deadline, saying that migrating to the new codebase is vital for ongoing healthcare reform in the U.S. Lynne Thomas Gordon, chief executive officer of the AHIMA, said that healthcare providers should continue working toward the original October 2013 deadline regardless of whether an extension is announced by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“The benefits of ICD-10 to reduce costs and improve patient care are invaluable to the future of our healthcare system,” said Gordon, as quoted by the news source. “We recommend that HHS reach out to the full healthcare community and gather more information about the great strides many have achieved – in good faith – since the ICD-10 deadline was set in January 2009. AHIMA is committed to moving forward with this transition and will continue to be a leading voice on this issue.”

Dan Rode, vice president of policy at the AHIMA, said that despite efforts to introduce medical informatics systems and other healthcare IT infrastructure, the use of ICD-9 billing codes remained a barrier to true healthcare reform. The ninth revision of the ICD codebase was first introduced in 1979.

According to the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, ICD codes not only enable healthcare providers to function more effectively, but also contribute to accurate reporting of the effectiveness of various treatment options. Data such as mortality rates for medical conditions can be affected by the use of ICD codes, and some experts believe that the transition to the 10th revision could benefit the healthcare community considerably.