Members of the American Medical Association had hoped that Reps. Pete Sessions and Fred Upton, chairs of the powerful House Energy & Commerce and Rules Committees, would put language extending the ICD-10 deadline for two years into the omnibus federal spending bill.
That didnt happen, but both representatives have been sympathetic to the concerns of physicians and have committed to having a hearing on ICD-10 issues in early 2015. But in a joint statement, Sessions and Upton indicated support for the current 2015 compliance data, while also pledging to take a hard look at the state of ICD-10 preparedness. Here is the statement:
As we look ahead to the implementation date of ICD-10 on October 1, 2015, we will continue our close communication with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that the deadline can successfully be met by stakeholders. This is an important milestone in the future of health care technologies, and it is essential that we understand the state of preparedness at CMS. Following the most recent delay of ICD-10, we heard from a number of interested parties concerned about falling behind or halting progress. We would like to acknowledge and thank these organizations and individuals for opening up this dialogue and expressing their thoughts and concerns regarding this issue. It is our priority to ensure that we continue to move forward in health care technology and do so in a way that addresses the concerns of all those affected and ensure that the system works.
On Dec. 5, organizations representing more than 5,000 hospitals and health systems across the countryincluding the American Hospital Associationsent a letter to House and Senate leaders voicing their strong support for the October 2015 ICD-10 compliance date and urging Congress to avoid any further delays to the code switchover.
Recent ICD-10 implementation delays have been disruptive and costly for hospitals and health systems, as well as to health care delivery innovation, payment reform, public health, and healthcare payment, states the letter As you know, significant investments were made by the health care community, and our hospital members, to prepare for the October 2014 implementation prior to enactment of the most recent delay. The delay added billions of dollars in extra costs.
In addition, the organizations lamented about the fact that many of its members had to quickly reconfigure systems and processes that were prepared to use ICD-10 back to ICD-9. Newly trained coders who graduated from ICD-10 focused programs were unprepared for use of the older code set and needed to be retrained back to using ICD-9, states the letter. Further, training of existing coders needed to be repeated given the one-year delay. This results in a doubling of costs that are not productive. A further delay would only add additional costs as existing investments would be further wasted and future costs would grow.
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