Healthcare professionals that work with coded data on a daily basis were well represented in the US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, titled “Examining ICD-10 Implementation,” which took place Wednesday morning in Washington, DC.
With panelists representing those both for and against an outright switch to the new ICD-10 code set on October 1, 2015, the subcommittee representatives listened to debate on stakeholder ICD-10 readiness, implementation costs, and the impact another delay would have on the healthcare industry. (Click here to view a video replay of the hearing.)
Panelist Sue Bowman, MJ, RHIA, CCS, FAHIMA, AHIMA’s senior director of coding policy and compliance, urged Congress in her testimony not to enact further delays and allow the US to keep pace with other industrialized nations who adopted ICD-10 years ago.
“So the industry initially had more than four years after publication of the final rule to prepare for the ICD-10 transition. As a result of the two one-year delays granted by HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] in 2012 and Congress in 2014, the healthcare industry has had more than six years to prepare,” Bowman said. “This length of time is more than adequate for all segments of the healthcare industry to be ready for the transition.”
Panelist William Jefferson Terry, MD, representing the American Urological Association, as well as his own practice, voiced concerns about lost physician productivity if ICD-10 is adopted too quickly.
“Physicians are overwhelmed with the tsunami of regulations that have significantly increased the volume of work for physicians and their staff, many of which have questionable value to improving the quality of care provided to patients,” Terry stated during the hearing. “Many physician practices, especially the rural one- or two-physician practices do not have the time, money, or expertise to follow and comply with the mounting regulatory challenges, which is why many are considering early retirement or opting out of the Medicare program.”
Proponents of implementing ICD-10-CM/PCS on the October 1, 2015 deadline likely left the hearing with optimism, based on the testimony of the panelists and comments from key committee members.
At the outset of the hearing, Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), the subcommittee’s chairman, voiced his support for moving forward with ICD-10 implementation in October 2015. This was particularly notable since the delay language was added to a bill Pitts introduced in last year’s “Protecting Access to Medicare” bill that delayed ICD-10 implementation by an additional year.
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL) also spoke out in support of an October 2015 implementation, and Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) noted the California Hospital Association’s advocacy efforts to keep implementation on track for this year.
Of the seven industry experts who testified today, only one—Terry, from the Mobile Urology Group—outright opposed implementation in 2015. ICD-10 advocate panelists at the hearing included Edwin M. Burke, MD, from the Beyer Medical Group; Richard Averill, from 3M Health Information Systems; Kristi A. Matus, from insurer Athena Health; Carmella Bocchino, from America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP); and John Hughes, MD, a health data researcher and professor of medicine at Yale University.
Source: www.ahima.org; Mary Butler; February 11, 2015.