The MGMA's opposition to the ICD-10 implementation, even though the date is one year later than planned, stems from the association's belief that the CMS and the industry don't know what they're getting into and should prepare for the transition. Before setting a compliance date, the CMS should have conducted a pilot test, conducted an impact analysis and fully evaluated alternative approaches, said Robert Tennant, senior policy adviser at the MGMA. “To move forward without doing a pilot test to us is irresponsible,” Tennant said. “I don't think we're asking for the moon here; we're asking for due diligence on the part of the government.”
“Inevitably, we'll have problems around the compliance date and there'll be cash flow disruption and people will be upset,” Tennant said. He compared it to the rocky transition to the Accredited Standards Committee's X12 Version 5010 family of claims standards but said ICD-10 disruptions will be on a larger scale. The MGMA opposed the health plan identifier regulations because implementation will be too far in the future—2016—and they're not specific enough to benefit physicians, Tennant said
The CMS addressed the readiness issue in the rule, writing that the agency agrees “that implementation and testing plans are essential for a successful transition to ICD-10.” “We are evaluating methods to establish a common understanding and will issue guidance and offer general assistance on timelines and testing protocols through education and outreach.”
AHIMA officials are on the opposite side of the spectrum of the MGMA, and while they had urged the CMS to not delay implementation by a year, they support the rule because it provides certainty to the industry. Without a deadline, it's possible that some organizations were not preparing as quickly as they should, said Sue Bowman, senior director for coding policy and compliance at AHIMA.
“I think it's a great day for healthcare and a great step forward in the … modernization of our healthcare system,” Bowman said.