HIMSS: 5 reasons CMS should stay the course with ICD-10

Calling the transition to ICD-10 "foundational to healthcare transformation," officials from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society recently pressed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to remain committed to its Oct. 1, 2014 adoption date.  

In a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, HIMSS chair Willa Fields and CEO H. Stephen Lieber said that ICD-10 already has been "thoroughly vetted" and should not be delayed any further. They listed five reasons for remaining on course with the implementation, including:

  • Enhancing patient care and experience: "ICD-10 is expected to reduce provider overhead costs over the long term by minimizing the need for prior authorization episodes, which tend to delay patient course of treatment," they said.
  • Maintaining the push for IT in healthcare: "Realizing the full benefits of healthcare transformation in America … are impossible without the 21st century standard coding system that ICD-10 will provide," they said.
  • Staying ahead of disease progression to deliver quality population health
  • Eliminating unnecessary costs: "ICD-10 has the potential to reduce … waste by accurately pin-pointing the severity of disease and helping create medically necessary plans of care and courses of treatment," Fields and Lieber said.
  • Maintaining investments: "By all accounts," they said, "further delay … will result in billions of dollars in lost investments for those who have been preparing for the ICD-10 nationwide implementation."

Additionally, Fields and Lieber said further delays would send a message that CMS "is not serious about administrative simplification and HIPAA requirements."

Last August, CMS officially pushed back the timeline for healthcare organizations to convert to the ICD-10 coding system to Oct. 1, 2014; the original deadline would have required providers to make the conversion by this October. Several groups, including the Medical Group Management Association and the American Medical Association, continually have expressed concern about transitioning to ICD-10; the latter group has even discussed the implications of eliminating ICD-10 altogether, and instead waiting for and adopting ICD-11 in October 2017.

To learn more:
- read the HIMSS letter (.pdf)


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