Friday, May 20, 2011

ICD-10 or Meaningful Use? Between a rock and a hard place.

The HIT Policy Steering Committee is debating whether delaying stage 2 of meaningful use would allow healthcare providers more time and resources to negotiate succesfully the switch to ICD-10 (or more precisely, ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS).

The conflict between electronic medical record (EMR) adoption and the switch to ICD-10-CM first surfaced almost immediately after passage of the HITECH Act that incentivizes EMR adoptoin, and is highlighted by a letter from the American Hospital Association and a letter from numerous doctors' organizations.

Despite our prediction that the ICD-10-CM switch would pull resources from meeting MU, it turns out that meeting MU is taking resources from the ICD-10-CM switch.

Now, the HIT Policy Steering Committee is starting to recognize that resource-constrained healthcare providers will have severe difficulties doing both. However, it should have realized this problem much sooner since they certainly were privy to the letters sent above, dated in June, 2009. Almost two years ago!

Now they propose to delay MU "stage 2" criteria, to allow resource-constrained providers to meet the ICD-10-CM mandate.

Why not propose instead that the switch to ICD-10-CM be postponed or even canceled?

Granted, they can only control directly the timing of stage 2 MU, but surely the members of the Steering Committee have some influence with decision makers in Health and Human Services?