Healthcare News & Insights

AMA: ICD-10 deadline should be pushed back further

Thought the debate over ICD-10 codes was finished after a one-year delay was proposed by the feds? Think again. Some groups are still pushing for the government to give doctors and hospitals more time to switch to the new coding system. 

The American Medical Association (AMA) recently sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), asking the agency to delay the ICD-10 deadline until at least October 1, 2015.

CMS’s proposed rule would set the deadline at October 1, 2014, a year later than the government’s previous plan. However, AMA says more time is needed because of the severe financial and administrative burdens of switching to ICD-10 from the old set of ICD-9 codes, which contains just one fifth as many codes as ICD-10. The transition will be especially difficult when combined with other mandates healthcare providers are currently facing, AMA says.

In addition to the delay, AMA also wants CMS to evaluate whether a full move to ICD-10 is even the best approach at this point — as the letter points out, some other countries have had success switching to a modified version of the ICD-10 code set.

Is a longer delay a good idea for healthcare providers? Not all groups think so. For example, a survey conducted by health IT provider Edifecs found that a longer delay would actually cost providers money because many would likely pause their ICD-10 transitions and then restart them as the new deadline approaches.

What do you think about the proposals for delaying the ICD-10 deadline? Let us know in the comments section below.

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