MGMA wants 'staggered' ICD-10 implementation

In a letter sent this week to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Medical Group Management Association President Susan Turney reiterates the organization's position from March that the ICD-10 process, as currently outlined, lacks several steps.

Turney wants CMS to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the process and pilot test ICD-10, while also looking into alternative options. She adds that, if CMS does ultimately mandate ICD-10 for physician practices, that the implementation dates be staggered so health plans and clearinghouses are ready one year before providers.

What's more, Turney says, MGMA wants to see the creation of certification processes for payers and clearinghouses, as well as educational outreach efforts made toward providers, in particular those in rural areas and those treating underserved populations. In comparing ICD-10 to the current transition by providers to HIPAA 5010, Turney says the former will be more complex and costly than the latter has been.

"Failure to complete these critical steps will divert scarce intellectual, educational and financial resources away from the adoption of HIT and other more critical patient care-focused endeavors," Turney writes.

Conversely, in its recent letter to CMS calling for a one-year extension to the ICD-10 implementation, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is adamant that both providers and payers need to pick one compliance date and stick to it.

"Although we recognize that some would prefer a staggered implementation, maintaining a single compliance cutover appears to be the only viable solution for the reasons set forth in the original rule and based on recommendations from a WEDI Policy Advisory Group held in September 2008," WEDI Chair Donald Bechtel writes.

To learn more:
- here's the MGMA's recent letter to CMS (.pdf)
- here's WEDI's letter (.pdf)


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