Response to Ready or not! Here comes ICD-10

Joshua A. Hirsch, Vice Chair, Interventional Care,

Other Contributors:

January 19, 2012

In October 2011, JNIS published our article on the implementation of the ICD-10 codes1. The final line of the paper was..." The authors favor postponing implementation of ICD-10 and prefer a focus on core issues of improving care and access. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will require all health professionals and facilities to transition to ICD-10 by October 2013. ICD- 10 is viewed as being more nuanced and providing a greater level of detail for what had led to an injury or illness. ICD-9 has 14,000 codes. As outlined in the article, implementing ICD-10 nationally will require tremendous allocation of resources. The upcoming change would require practices learn 69,000 new codes for billing purposes. The American Medical Association (AMA) apparently agrees. During the 65th House of Delegate Interim Meeting of the AMA that occurred on November 15, 2011 2, delegates adopted a policy to work to stop implementation of the new diagnosis coding set ICD-10. Alabama and Mississippi delegations, the American Assn. of Clinical Urologists and the American Urological Assn. introduced the resolution to stop ICD-10 implementation. "The implementation of ICD-10 will create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patients' care," said AMA President Peter W. Carmel, MD. "At a time when we are working to get the best value possible for our health care dollar, this massive and expensive undertaking will add administrative expense and create unnecessary workflow disruptions. The timing could not be worse, as many physicians are working to implement electronic health records into their practices. We will continue working to help physicians keep their focus where it should be -- on their patients." The authors are penning this brief letter to the editor because we see this AMA position as a relevant postscript to the paper.

References: 1. Manchikanti L, Falco FJE, Hirsch JA. Ready or not! Here comes ICD-10. J NeuroIntervent Surg neurintsurg-2011-010155 Published Online First: 24 October 2011 doi:10.1136/neurintsurg-2011-010155

2. AMA Press Release: AMA Adopts New Policies During Final Day of Semi-Annual Meeting. November 15, 2011. http://www.amaassn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2011-11-15-ama-adopts-new- policies.page

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

Conflict of Interest

None declared