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AMA Seeks to Stop ICD-10, Cites Soaring Costs

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, February 13, 2014

In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the American Medical Association asks her to "strongly" reconsider the ICD-10 medical coding set mandate, which the AMA says will place a "crushing burden" on physicians.

The American Medical Association on Wednesday released a study it sponsored showing that projected physicians' implementation costs for the federally mandated ICD-10 medical coding set will be as much as three times higher than initial estimates.

Couple with the release of the study, AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, released a copy of the letter she sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to "strongly" reconsider the ICD-10 mandate, which takes effect Oct. 1.


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"The markedly higher implementation costs for ICD-10 place a crushing burden on physicians, straining vital resources needed to invest in new health care delivery models and well-developed technology that promotes care coordination with real value to patients," Hoven said in the letter. "Continuing to compel physicians to adopt this new coding structure threatens to disrupt innovations by diverting resources away from areas that are expected to help lower costs and improve the quality of care."

To bolster support Wednesday, the AMA also introduced the #StopICD10 hashtag on Twitter.

A 2008 study by Nachimson Advisors estimated that the cost to implement ICD-10 averaged about $83,000 for a small practice, $285,000 for a mid-sized practice and $2.7 million for a large practice. However, Nachimson Advisors in a follow up study released this week for AMA found huge cost variables for each practice size based on specialty, vendor and software. Small practices costs ranged from $56,600 to $226,000; mid-sized practice costs ranged from $213,000 - $825,500; and large practice costs ranged from $2 million to $8 million.

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9 comments on "AMA Seeks to Stop ICD-10, Cites Soaring Costs"


terry dodson (3/27/2014 at 5:12 PM)
I have worked for physicians for years. most of the older ones are considering retiring. people who are only coders may have 1 opinion but those of us who wear multiple hats are very unhappy. despite the rah,rah cheerleaders , this is still going to be expensive,stressful and chaotic. I don't think people have any idea how horrible this will turn out. thank you

Jan (3/26/2014 at 6:54 PM)
As a coder, I am so beyond ready to move forward with ICD-10. We have done the training and understand the reasoning behind the changes that are made in the ICD-10 code sets. One more year delay will do nothing to improve this in any way. We are ready. Let's get this done! NO DELAY! PLEASE! We've waited long enough. Other nations are already working on ICD-11. We are already behind. Don't delay this any further. There is nothing to be gained from this delay!

Frank T. (3/7/2014 at 11:01 PM)
As a Physician for my small solo practice, I code by myself. Patients are very happy for small wait time. I have memorized most of my Dx codes. Now with this ICD-10 , I can't. I am not seeing any "better care" but waste of time and money. A knee injury if you explain it better, still you can't "perfectly" explain it and you actually can spend the whole day, week, months, years to talk about it( just look at scientific research papers). Even draw Quantum Tensors in Space-Time and explain at what electron orbit the injury has taken place. Even if that it is not enough, we could explain it further by Einstein's formula and Plank's quantum variable or even expand it further to subatomic God particle to avoid "fraud and abuse and waste". In reality with increase number of patients and demand of access this is nothing but a waste of time by itself. Even ICD-9 was too much and for a solo outpatient practice must be weaned down to only 3 to 4 codes to be practical and friendly. Sorry for non physicians for not understanding it because they don't treat patients but papers. Their intelligence is not enough to understand it or jealousy and hatred of lack of success in their lives has hindered their miserable lives so bad that they have to make life miserable for others who care daily for sick people.