AMA Considers Skipping Straight to ICD-11

After months of pushing for a delay in converting to the ICD-10 codes, the American Medical Association is considering a new option: skip ICD-10 altogether and move to ICD-11. In reaction to protests, the Department of Health and Human Services published a proposed rule in April to delay the mandated conversion until Oct. 1, 2014.

In May, the AMA asked CMS acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to delay ICD-10 conversion even further (to October 1, 2015). But that may be a moot point now.

A resolution to examine the feasibility of skipping ICD-10 was approved in the recent annual AMA House of Delegates meeting. After discussing the resolution during the June 17 meeting, the committee of delegates issued a report that says it may be “less burdensome” to go straight to ICD-11 from the ICD-9 codes currently in use.

ICD-10 coding will create unnecessary and significant financial and administrative burdens for physicians,” said AMA president-elect Dr. Ardis Dee Hoven. “[It is critical] to evaluate alternatives to ICD-9 that will make for a less-cumbersome transition for physicians and allow physicians to focus on their primary priority – patient care.”

While the U.S. is a decade behind in implementing the most current International Disease Classification system, the alpha version of ICD-11 is set to be introduced later this year, which would end the “streak.” That said, not everyone in the medical coding industry is on board with the proposal.

“ICD-10 is the pathway to ICD-11,” said Sue Bowman, director of coding policy and compliance for the American Health Information Management Association. “You have to treat it like you’re building a structure starting with a first floor. You can’t build a fourth one without constructing a second and third.”

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