Health Data Management readers are commenting on the American Medical Association's decision to "vigorously work" to stop implementation of the ICD-10 code sets, and their reactions are mixed. Here's a sampling:

* "This story represents an example of why the AMA is ineffectual. Instead of spending time and money on something that will happen and needs to happen I would prefer they work on getting primary care physicians increased reimbursement for patient-centered medical home initiatives to improve patient care."

* "The ICD-10 codes are free to everyone, unlike the AMA copyrighted CPT codes which continue to be mandated and the EDI specs for claims which cost thousands of dollars."

* “I agree that this AMA decision is misguided and misinformed. First of all, there are GEM files on the CMS.GOV Web site that offer conversions from ICD-9 to ICD-10, and ICD-10 to ICD-9. So, implementation should be automatic if they have well designed software. So, there should be no immediate cost at all. If the doctor/coder has a good ICD-10 lookup, they will be able to pick the best diagnosis and eventually will be very efficient. The idea that magically, on Oct 1, 2013, everything changes, is a sign of ignorance. What the AMA should 'fight' is the EHR, which has no direct benefit to patients, is very expensive and does not improve physician efficiency at all, and in fact is a detriment to patient care."

* "It is interesting that the shift to the new ICD-10 coding scheme is facing opposition from the AMA. The new system of coding offers increased specificity and granularity, thereby providing better diagnostics and targeted treatment of illnesses."

* "Sure it may be better with ICD-10, however, it is going cause a great deal of problems. The cost is going to be extreme to the medical profession. We coders will have to be retrained and that is going to cost. Are coders going to be ready for the change? I do not think so. Not for the amount of records that have to be completed. There are not enough coders and adding ICD-10 is going only going to increase the amount of coders needed. Professionals need to be well trained years before ICD-10 is implemented. What is the cost going to be to the patient? It is going to take more time away from staff and bring less patient care. Also, billing will slow and organizations will not get paid in a timely manner. I just do not think it is the best time and professionals need to be better prepared. I have only read about when ICD-10 will take place, but rarely see what training is going to take place for all medical professionals."


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