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Disagreement over ICD-10 delay

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | April 11, 2012
Health care organizations have been split on whether the federal government should postpone the deadline for when providers must adopt ICD-10, a new morbidity classification scheme.

So it's no surprise that there were differences of opinion by two of the leading groups in the debate when greeting the news last week that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services intends to push back the adoption deadline by one year.

American Health Information Management Association, an organization for health information specialists, had been urging HHS to stay the course on the original October 2013 deadline. AHIMA now hopes that, despite the delay, providers continue to work towards the new October 2014 date. And in any case, the society is happy it's not worse. In a statement, the group's CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said it was glad that HHS kept the extension to "essentially the shortest period possible -- just one year."

Taking the opposite tack, the American Medical Association, which represents about a quarter of U.S. doctors, applauded the delay, which it had been advocating for a while. "The postponement is the first of many steps that regulators need to take to reduce the number of costly, time-consuming regulatory burdens that physicians are shouldering," president Dr. Peter Carmel said in a statement.

CHIME, which represents 1,400 CIOs and other health care tech executives, doesn't have a statement up yet, but it had been against a long delay in a letter it sent to HHS in February, when the government agency first said it was mulling a deadline pushback.

"The ICD-10 code set will give providers more granular information that will, in turn, allow us to better tell the patient's story," CHIME said in its letter. "This will lead to better outcomes for patients and increased innovation for the health care delivery system as a whole."

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