AMA Call to Action: ICD-10 Implementation

The AMA is encouraging all physicians to contact their representatives about the transition to the new ICD-10 coding system. AVLS members are urged to use the letter below to contact their Congress person and express their urgency to act. The AMA states:

Following up on the ICD-10 letter that was distributed in the House, here is some additional information on the effort, along with the full text of the letter.

The American Medical Association continues to have significant concerns with the readiness of many providers, payers, and other participants in the billing chain to implement ICD-10 on October 1, 2015. Accordingly, we encourage you to contact your member of Congress and your Senators and ask them to work to provide a grace period during implementation so that potential disruptions do not impact the delivery of care.

The following Physicians’ Grassroots Network message to Congress may be accessed HERE, or send the letter below with your own letterhead to your representative.


Sample Letter

The Honorable XXXXXXX
United States Senate/House of Representatives Washington, DC
Dear Senator/Representative:

As we approach the October 1, 2015 implementation date of the International Classification of Diseases, Clinical Modification, 10th Revision (ICD-10), I am writing to express my continued concern over the readiness of our healthcare system to transition to this new coding system.

While many participants in our system have invested considerable time and resources to prepare for this transition, the threat of significant disruption remains. Even some of the most enthusiastic backers of ICD-10 implementation publicly acknowledge that implementation will lead to reduced productivity and technical glitches that may severely impact health care operations across all providers and payers. This has been the case with previous HIPAA mandated changes, such as the National Provider Identifier (NPI) and the upgrade to Version 5010 transaction standards. These changes, which were significantly less complex than ICD-10 transition, resulted in significant claims processing disruptions that caused physicians to go unpaid for weeks and sometimes months. Such disruptions negatively impact patients’ access to care.

Congress and the Administration should take steps to mitigate the impact that such disruptions will have on health care systems and, in turn, on our patients. ICD-10 will require coding to a much greater level of specificity than is required under the current ICD-9 system. Because proficiency with this new system will require experience that comes only by doing, we urge you to support legislative efforts that result in establishing a two year grace period during which physicians will not be penalized for errors, mistakes and or malfunctions related to adjusting to new ICD-10 coding specifications.

I appreciate your attention to this serious matter and hope that you will work with your colleagues in Congress and the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to ensure that the necessary preparations to mitigate these threats are undertaken immediately.



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