Thursday, February 16, 2012


The Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced today that her Department will initiate the rulemaking process necessary to delay the switch to ICD-10-CM.  This stunning development comes as problems with a required predecessor of ICD-10-CM mount.  This predecessor is the 5010 standard, which we described in a previous post.  Problems with 5010 have been mounting since last summer and fall. Additional pressure has been mounting against 5010 in recent weeks.  Finally, overburdened with unfunded mandates by the federal government, physicians finally began to push back last month, with the AMA urging against the switch (see here and here).

Of course, hospitals and doctors predicted a long time ago that ICD-10-CM and electronic health record adoption would compete for limited resources, and thus that one or the other would have to give. It's long past time that the federal government has seen the light.

We hope that the federal government will similarly come to the realization that the switch is not worth it, and call it off altogether.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Updates on Opposing the Switch to ICD-10-CM

The American Medical Association sent a letter (warning: PDF) on February 2nd to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, requesting a halt to the switch.  An excerpt from the letter:

In the wake of [an] onslaught of overlapping regulatory mandates and reporting requirements, HHS
has an opportunity to ease the burdens on physician practices by halting the implementation of
ICD-10 and calling on appropriate stakeholders, including physicians, hospitals, payers to assess an
appropriate replacement for ICD-9 within a reasonable timeframe.

In the meantime, the American Health Information Management Association, which lobbied heavily for the switch, urged healthcare providers (including physicians) to keep working (warning: PDF) towards the switch.  They do not expect Congress or the Executive Branch to act to halt the switch.  For sure, we expect them to lobby against any such efforts.

Finally, noted healthcare CIO John Halamka is on record as saying that the switch will have no net financial benefit to the United States heatlhcare sector, public or private (or combined).  He has even lobbied his personal contacts within the federal government to reconsider the switch to ICD-10-CM.  We applaud this stance and his efforts!