The countdown is on toward the Oct. 1 start date for the nationwide conversion to the ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes, so the American Medical Association and four of the nation's largest state medical societies are reiterating their long-held opposition to the switch.
The latest blasts aimed at ICD-10 come in a resolution by the AMA and a letter to acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt from the medical societies in Texas, California, Florida and New York, calling the pending conversion a “looming disaster.” (PDF)
The AMA statement repeated its long-held policy stance against the ICD-10 conversion, but if that's not feasible, for the CMS to adopt “mitigation strategies.”
Its House of Delegates at their annual meeting in Chicago last week approved without opposition a “grace period plan” based on suggestions of members from Alabama and Texas.
The letter from the state societies, which references the AMA vote, lays out a relief plan for a two-year grace period from Medicare penalties for errors, mistakes and other “malfunctions of the system”; two years of relief from Medicare payment audits due to ICD-10 coding mistakes; two years in which physician payments won't be reduced or withheld due to ICD-10 errors; and advanced payments in the event their payments are delayed.
The Texas Medical Association, the nation's largest state medical society, also endorsed federal legislation introduced by U.S. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) dubbed the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015, which would compel the government to adopt the relief recommendations.
"Our message is this," said Dr. Gary Floyd, a Fort Worth pediatrician and member of the TMA's board of trustees: "Don't give up the ship, but make sure the lifeboats are manned and at the ready."