AMA Seeks to Stop ICD-10, Cites Soaring Costs

John Commins, 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.



"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.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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