The American Health Information Management Association, long a proponent of the proposed nationwide conversion to the ICD-10 family of diagnostic and procedural codes, is advising providers and other organizations to stay the course in preparation for the code upgrade, the Chicago-based association for medical records professionals has announced (PDF).
Don't delay on ICD-10: AHIMA
The AHIMA announcement comes in response to a statement Tuesday by CMS acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner that the CMS will “re-examine the time frame” on ICD-10 through a rulemaking process.
Under an earlier HHS rule, hospitals, physician practices, health plans, claims clearinghouses and other so-called “covered entities” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 2009 all are require to convert from the ICD-9 codes now in current use to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013.
The AHIMA statement, however, “encouraged the healthcare community to continue to prepare for the ICD-10 transition and not delay or suspend efforts to meet the ICD-10 current compliance deadline.”
“This is a promise from CMS to examine the timeline, not to change it,” Dan Rode, vice president for advocacy and policy at AHIMA, said in the organization's public statement. “But government officials are sending mixed signals that many in the healthcare community will interpret as a reason for delay. This concerns AHIMA and our constituents as any delay in the transition preparation for ICD-10 will both increase actual costs and may diminish the value of other HHS programs, including meaningful use.
“AHIMA members across the country have reached out to assist those who need help in understanding ways to implement ICD-10,” Rode said, “but the government and industry must also understand that huge investments have been made in good faith since early 2009 to meet the current deadlines and accomplish the goal of quality, efficient healthcare through the use of quality health information,” Rode said.
AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, added, also in the statement that, “We need to keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of ICD-10 implementation. There are tremendous long-term benefits that will come from the use of a 21st-century classification system, such as ICD-10, to both healthcare providers and patients. AHIMA urges all in the healthcare community to continue with their ICD-10 planning efforts.”
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