The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) on behalf of its 72,000 members is extremely disappointed by today's vote in the House that would delay ICD-10 for a minimum of one more year. The transition to ICD-10 is time sensitive because of the urgent need to keep up with tracking, identifying and analyzing new clinical services and treatments available to patients. Continued reliance on ICD-9 is not a viable option when considering the risk to public health and the danger of relying on outdated and imprecise data.
The healthcare industry has had an abundance of time to prepare for the transition to ICD-10. Many hospitals, healthcare systems, third-party payers and physicians' offices have prepared in good faith and made enormous investments to be ready for the Oct. 1, 2014, deadline and the transition to ICD-10, an essential and robust coding system that will lead to improved patient care, reduced costs and maximize the investments in electronic health records (EHRs) and health data exchange.
In addition to impacting the delivery of care, a delay in ICD-10 impacts more than 25,000 students in health information management (HIM) associate and baccalaureate educational programs, many of whom have learned to code exclusively in ICD-10. These students will not have the ability to code in ICD-9, which will make it difficult for them to find employment, pay back student loans, and become certified. In the bigger picture, it is a further blow to a healthcare system already struggling to fill positions with qualified personnel as the demand for quality healthcare data increases.
AHIMA is urging its members and stakeholders to contact their Senators today and ask them to pass a clean bill to fix SGR and not delay ICD-10.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 72,000 educated health information management and health informatics professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA's enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org