Is ICD-10 Really as Bad as Darth Vader?


I'll admit it, I'm a fan of the Star Wars movies, but I never expected them to become part of the ongoing debate over ICD-10. In a recent speech at an AMA interim meeting, AMA President Robert Wah compared the upcoming codeset to the movie's biggest villain. "If it was a droid ICD-10 would serve Darth Vader," Wah said. The AMA has long opposed implementation of ICD-10, Wah said, and "and we want to freeze it in carbonite," he said. Wah also said that ICD-10 may not even improve patient care.

The Coalition for ICD-10, a group of industry stakeholders including the BlueCross BlueShield Association, America's Health Insurance Plans and the Advanced Medical Technology Association, recently addressed Wah's comments, noting that it's "hard to fathom why anyone would promote having our national data fail to meet the demands of 21st century health care."

The Coalition, which supports the transition to ICD-10, also took issue with Wah's comment that ICD-10 may not improve patient care, saying "it would seem obvious that more precise data should lead to better identification of potential quality problems and assessment of provider performance."

The transition date for ICD-10 is set for Oct. 1, 2015, but the codeset's implementation has already been delayed twice. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) recently issued a statement expressing support for next year's ICD-10 implementation. Upton and Sessions said they would work closely with CMS to ensure that the implementation date is met. 

Take a free trial to the Health Law Resource Center to receive industry-leading health law news and analysis.