Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Doctors advocate delays and halts to ICD-10-CM switch

The American Medical Association, in response to the proposed rule (PDF) to delay the ICD-10-CM switch by one year, recommends (PDF) instead that the switch be delayed two years.  The proposed rule would delay the switch to October 1, 2014, but the AMA requests instead that the government delay the switch to October 1, 2015.

The AMA letter states:

A two-year delay of the compliance deadline for ICD-10 is a necessary first step.  This postponement period would provide CMS with adequate time to pursue a much needed cost-benefit analysis of the full 
ICD-10 move that covers the administrative and financial impact of the ICD-10 move on physician 
practices.  During this time, we also urge CMS to institute a process to engage all relevant 
stakeholders including physicians to assess whether an alternative code set approach is more 
appropriate than the full implementation of ICD-10.  

Meanwhile, the Texas Medical Association has called (PDF) for a complete halt to the switch to ICD-10-CM.  This letter states:

The adoption of a standard that is acknowledged to be on the brink of obsolescence will not bring a 
sufficient benefit in light of the cost, disruption, and man-hours that must be dedicated to ICD-10 
implementation.  TMA argues that the savings and benefits of adopting ICD-11 should be 
researched by the Department.

There is much wisdom in both letters.  The switch to ICD-10-CM will not have the intended benefits, because at a minimum, the costs well exceed the estimates given by various reports and studies and the rule mandating the switch in the first place.

Furthermore, ICD-10-CM is not just on the brink of obsolescence, it is well over the brink.  The basic structure dates back to ICD-7 and 8, which were developed 55 and 45 years agao, respectively.

It is time to stop the switch.