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    ICD-10 supporters debunk skip to ICD-11

    Coalition says it could take 40 years until ICD-11 is ready for U.S.

    Healthcare organizations advocating for ICD-10 continue to defend any argument against the coding system that could again delay its October 2015 implementation. The latest battle pits The Coalition for ICD-10 against those that want the United States to skip over ICD-10 and to wait to implement ICD-11.

    The Coalition for ICD-10, which includes 22 coding societies, hospitals, health plans and health IT vendors, is on the defense as rumors swirl that another ICD-10 delay could be included in upcoming sustainable growth rate legislation this spring. As the rest of the world readies to implement ICD-11, which will be completed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, the coalition explains why the coding system is not a good leap for the U.S.

    The U.S. version of ICD-10 was created after years of modifications, comment periods, and revisions that added policies and procedures used by the healthcare system in this country. A blog post on the coalition’s website explains how it could take more than four decades to implement ICD-11.

    “The modification of the WHO version of ICD-10 for use in the U.S. took eight years. It was another eleven years before the regulatory process of proposed rules and comment periods was completed and the issuance of a final rule establishing ICD-10 as the HIPAA standard code set. The ICD-10 final rule gave the industry three years to get ready for ICD-10 implementation. Two one-year delays have now pushed the time allotted for preparation to five years. Based on the ICD-10 timeline, ICD-11 would not be implemented until 2041,” the blogpost said.

    Referencing a 2013 report from the American Medical Association (AMA), one of ICD-10’s biggest detractors, the coalition agrees that implementing ICD-10 will help the move to ICD-11 go smoother.

    “Learning the medical concepts, training efforts, and overall implementation efforts for ICD-11 will be more challenging if ICD-10 is not implemented first,” the AMA report said. “Focusing solely on moving from ICD-9 to ICD-11 risks missing the opportunity to educate physicians and leaving them unprepared for the anticipated transition to ICD-10, which could result in significant cash flow disruptions which could result in significant cash flow disruptions.”

    The AMA has been working with regional societies since November of 2014 on a letter writing campaign to Congress asking members to delay the coding system for a third time. AMA President Robert Wah, MD, spoke to delegates in November of 2014 referencing Star Wars, calling the coding system a droid that would serve Darth Vader.

    “For more than a decade, the AMA kept ICD-10 at bay – and we want to freeze it in carbonite,” Wah said.

    Not to be outdone, the Coalition for ICD-10 references Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot saying that the battle to stop another ICD-10 delay hinders all of healthcare: “Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.”

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    • Anonymous
      ICD 10, meaningless use, PQRS, MOC. Pray tell, are any augmenting my care of patients? Are any helping improve my capability of patient care? Are any improving my knowledge of medicine? Are any making me more efficient in seeing more patients? Are any of these helping anyone in the medical profession (not regulators, not politicians, not administrators, not insurance companies, not pharmaceutical companies -- in the medical PROFESSION)?
    • Anonymous
      So the 22 coding societies, health plans and health IT vendors who stand to make a bunch of money off the transition (training, denying, and upgrading respectively) can't make a coherent argument for switching to ICD10? Switch from a crappy but familiar system that we've all be adapted to a slightly less crappy but much more cumbersome system that is essentially starting from scratch? Don't skip ICD10 because it "might" take 40 years for ICD11? It might take 10 minutes, too. So we're going t o make this transition so we have a bastardized of what everyone else uses for 2 years before we're left in the dust again? Why not just spend the time preparing ICD11? It seems their argument boils down to "suffer through the transition so you'll be able to do it again in a couple years".
    • Anonymous
      Well said. ICD-10 is about the best example of rent seeking by the IT industry that we are likely to see. Now that the coders and IT vendors have spent actual money on developing it, there is almost no chance that we mere physicians will be spared from having to implement it, regardless of its flaws. There is a major delusion in the health care administration realm; that is, that more data will save us from ourselves. Like communism, all the failures of this mode of thinking are explained away as being due to not enough participation by the peasants and wrong thinking bourgeoisie.

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