Government Health IT, October 4, 2011

Shortly after the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics recommended that the United States adopt ICD-10, the Medical Group Management Association assembled a session on the code scheme for its annual conference. The last-minute addition was so late, in fact, that the MGMA did not have time to include it on the printed agenda, and the only available time slot was 7 a.m. Yet the room was overflowing with attendees. "You couldn't get in. The line was out the door," said Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor for the MGMA. "They were terrified." That day, nearly a decade before the dreaded compliance deadline, marked the beginning of what would become ICD-10's reign of fear. And today, with two years remaining before the Oct. 1, 2013 compliance date, the mandate stands to incite more consternation than in all previous years combined. "Even the mere mention of ICD-10 runs shivers up peoples' spines," said Bill Bernstein, chairman of the healthcare division at law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which works with states and providers on health IT and related public policy issues.
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