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Monday, June 8, 2015

AMA House Looks to Stop ICD-10, Protect Physicians From It

Staring down the muzzle of the Oct. 1 mandatory deadline to implement the ICD-10 coding system, the AMA House of Delegates is searching for multiple ways to help U.S. physicians dodge a dangerous bullet. Greg Fuller, MD, a family physician from Keller, said the wide array of medical problems primary care physicians treat is forcing them to try to learn thousands of new codes. “We need to stop ICD-10,” Dr. Fuller told the Reference Committee on Legislation. “Any delay in pay is going to kill these practices.” While AMA and TMA continue to back legislation to stop the switch to ICD-10, Washington observers say Congress has no stomach for another delay. Groups like AMA and TMA must continue to push for a last-minute reprieve and at the same time work to protect their members from the likely upheaval that will come with ICD-10, said TMA Trustee Gary Floyd, MD. “Our message is this,” Dr. Floyd said. “Don't give up the ship, but make sure the lifeboats are manned and at the ready.” In testimony before an AMA reference committee, Dr. Floyd and others outlined a series of protections they want AMA to request from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: two years with no penalties for incorrect coding; two years with no bounty-hunting auditors looking for coding errors; a promise of no delay in payments to physicians; and acceptance of ICD-10 codes with less-than-optimal degrees of specificity.

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