The American Hospital Association, a supporter of the CMS-mandated conversion to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes, finds itself in watch mode after recent seismic events, according to Don May, the AHA's vice president of policy.
The coding controversy and the AHA
Last week, the healthcare industry in general, and its information technology sector in particular, were startled by two separate but linked announcements—that the American Medical Association would work against ICD-10 implementation and that the CMS would delay enforcement of its rule requiring use of the Version 5010 data standards.
"We obviously are very supporting of 5010 and moving forward with that, but we're hearing from certain hospitals that they can't test with certain Medicaid programs and payers," May said in a telephone interview.
"Certainly, 5010 makes the billing process more efficient," he said, but "we're concerned about how this delay of enforcement might work. Does that mean they can bill some with 4010 and others with 5010?”
May added: "Most hospitals use a vendor for this, so I guess part of the question is with those vendors, can they run two systems (simultaneously) or not? We're waiting to see how that's going to play out and what extra burden that's going to put on us."
Relating to the AMA statement, May said, "ICD-10 is something we've supported for a very long time. ICD-9 is really showing its age. We're running out of codes. So we need to move to a new system.
"That said, hospitals are dealing with ICD-10, meaningful use, accounting for disclosures, bundled payments for accountable care organizations—there are a lot of overlapping burdens put on that same IT department," May said.
"We're listening to our members and their concerns," May said. "At this point we're still supportive of ICD-10, but you can't move forward without 5010, so we'll have to see how that plays out. As we learn more about the 5010 delay, that may change."
Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn.
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