Healthcare Business News

AMA looks at fast-forwarding to ICD-11

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: June 21, 2012 - 12:15 pm ET

The American Medical Association will evaluate the feasibility of skipping the nationwide conversion to the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedural codes and heading straight to ICD-11.

A resolution to do so was approved this week at the annual AMA House of Delegates meeting. HHS published a proposed rule in April that would delay the mandated conversion until Oct. 1, 2014, and the AMA's outgoing president, Dr. Peter Carmel, noted this in his June 16 speech as a sign of the organization's rising influence in Washington.

The AMA's new president, Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, did so again in his inaugural address on June 19. Lazarus cited the "needed delays the AMA won in implementing costly and confusing ICD-10 measures" as evidence of the association's efforts to do "what's best for physicians and patients."

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Delegates discussed the resolution during a June 17 committee meeting, and the committee issued a report stating that it agreed with those who testified that it might be "less burdensome" to move straight to ICD-11 from the ICD-9 codes currently being used. But in the report, the committee also expressed concern that "ICD-11 may not be developed enough yet to allow a thorough and comprehensive evaluation."

In an e-mailed news release, Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven, the AMA's president-elect, said, "ICD-10 coding will create unnecessary and significant financial and administrative burdens for physicians." It is critical, she said, "to evaluate alternatives to ICD-9 that will make for a less-cumbersome transition for physicians and allow physicians to focus on their primary priority—patient care."

In May, the AMA asked CMS acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to further delay ICD-10 conversion until Oct. 1, 2015.

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