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AMA wants protection for doctors rolling out new medical coding system

Lucas Mearian | June 11, 2015
The ICD-10 coding system affects dozens of core applications for healthcare providers and insurance payers.

"It is the largest and most challenging mandate we'd ever seen," said Ryan McDermitt, vice president of software products at Edifecs, a tier-one vendor of B2B data trading networks. "There'll be a real crush in the healthcare industry in the second half of the year."

Along with hospitals and physician practices, large insurers such as WellPoint and United have each spent more than $100 million in systems upgrades since ICD-10's rollout began.

The AMA said its latest vote was taken in the hopes of mitigating the potential problems by ensuring physicians will not be penalized for errors, mistakes and/or malfunctions of the ICD-10 system.

"The bottom line is that ICD-10 will significantly overwhelm physician practices with a 400% increase in the number of codes physicians must use for diagnosis, which will take time away from the valuable one-on-one patient-physician interface that is the hallmark of taking the best care of patients," AMA board member Dr. Russell Kridel, said in a statement.

Kridel said the AMA will continue to pressure Congress and the Obama Administration to take necessary steps to avoid widespread disruptions created by what it he called an "overly complex and burdensome mandate.

"Coding and billing protocols should never get in the way of patients receiving high quality care," Kridel said.


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