AAFP Statement: AAFP Supports Delay in Implementing ICD-10

Friday, August 24, 2012

Statement attributable to:
Glen R. Stream, MD, MBI, FAAFP

“The AAFP is pleased with the recent HHS announcement to delay the implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision Clinical Modification (ICD-10) by one year. Implementation is now scheduled for October 1, 2014. An additional year will help enable family physicians to better prepare for the switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10, which can be a particularly large burden for small practices.

“We appreciate the administration's decision to delay the implementation. It shows they carefully considered comments from the AAFP and other national physician organizations representing front-line physicians. We advocated for such a delay on behalf of our members, most of whom are working tirelessly to implement multiple Medicare incentive and penalty programs while also engaging in new delivery and payment models.

“ICD-10 contains more than 68,000 codes, nearly five times more than the current 13,000. The transition will require months of planning and execution by physicians and their office staff. As such, we are working hard to provide a menu of tools and resources to help our members transition successfully.

“In addition to delaying ICD-10 implementation, the final rule also creates a standard for a unique health plan identifier (HPID), adopts a data element that would serve as an ‘other entity’ identifier (OEID), adds a National Provider Identifier (NPI) requirement, and establishes standards for electronic health care transactions.

“The AAFP supports the assignment of HPIDs to health plans. We also support the assignment of OEIDs, in that the format and process of assigning these IDs appears consistent with those regarding the assignment of NPIs. The assignment of HPIDs and OEIDs will allow physicians, health plans, and other entities to be more easily identified, so billing systems can coordinate more efficiently and seamlessly. This will help all medical practices, particularly small ones, to successfully route claims to the proper payer on the first attempt.

“It is important to note that this is not the final action on this issue. The administration has stated its commitment to ‘engage stakeholders on a wide variety of ICD-10 and administrative simplification issues, including reduction of burden on physician practices.’ We will continue to work constructively with the administration to reduce the burden of transitioning to ICD-10 for family physicians so they can spend more time with their patients.”

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Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 134,600 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

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