AHIMA, on behalf of its 72,000 members, is extremely disappointed by today’s vote in the House that would delay ICD-10 for a minimum of one more year. The transition to ICD-10 is time sensitive because of the urgent need to keep up with tracking, identifying, and analyzing new clinical services and treatments available to patients. Continued reliance on ICD-9 is not a viable option when considering the risk to public health and the danger of relying on outdated and imprecise data.
The health care industry has had an abundance of time to prepare for the transition to ICD-10. Many hospitals, health care systems, third-party payers, and physicians’ offices have prepared in good faith and made enormous investments to be ready for the October 1, 2014, deadline and the transition to ICD-10, an essential and robust coding system that will lead to improved patient care, reduced costs, and maximize the investments in EHRs and health data exchange.
In addition to impacting the delivery of care, a delay in ICD-10 impacts more than 25,000 students in HIM associate and baccalaureate educational programs, many of whom have learned to code exclusively in ICD-10. These students will not have the ability to code in ICD-9, which will make it difficult for them to find employment, pay back student loans, and become certified. In the bigger picture, it is a further blow to a health care system already struggling to fill positions with qualified personnel as the demand for quality health care data increases.
AHIMA is urging its members and stakeholders to contact their Senators today and ask them to pass a clean bill to fix SGR and not delay ICD-10.