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AMA President-elect Dr Jeremy Lazarus

Doc associations warn CMS about coming ‘storm' of overlapping regulations

By Beth Kutscher
Posted: March 29, 2012 - 5:15 pm ET

The American Medical Association joined with other physician organizations to urge the CMS to consider the “imminent storm” of overlapping regulations going into effect next year.

In a letter to acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, the groups expressed concern that the timeline for transitioning to ICD-10 overlaps with other program deadlines, such as e-prescribing, electronic health records and the physician quality reporting system.

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“We urge CMS to re-evaluate the penalty timelines associated with these programs and examine the administrative and financial burdens and intersection of these various federal regulatory programs,” the groups wrote in the letter (PDF). “We also urge CMS to use its discretionary authority provided by Congress under these programs to develop solutions for synchronizing these programs to minimize burdens to physician practices, and propose these solutions in the physician fee schedule proposed rule for calendar year 2013.”

The AMA has been calling for a halt of the ICD-10 roll-out since last year.

Last month, the CMS and HHS again postponed the launch of the lengthier, more complex list of diagnostic and procedural codes. The Oct. 1, 2013 deadline had already been pushed back from January 2009. No new date has been announced.

“Facing all of these deadlines at once is overwhelming to physicians, whose top priority is patients,” AMA President-elect Dr. Jeremy Lazarus said in a statement. “We have asked CMS to develop solutions for implementing these regulations in a way that reduces the burden on physicians and allows them to keep their focus where it should be—caring for patients.”

The letter also highlighted that the changes are coming to pass as physicians face a roughly 30% cut in Medicare payments. “The combination of these financial burdens could prevent physicians from making the investments needed to transition to new models of care delivery and improve the value and quality of care in the Medicare system,” Lazarus said in the statement.

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