Updated on: March 14, 2016

CHIA Joins AHIMA, Advocates To Continue ICD-10 Implementation On 10/2014

Original story posted on: March 19, 2014

An annual membership event for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and its component state associations is to come and advocate for healthcare in Washington, D.C. The California Health Information Association (CHIA) brought its board to the capital city and joined forces with AHIMA leadership, other state health information management professionals, and general members to visit congressional offices this past week.


Capitol Hill Day is an opportunity to meet with U.S. Representatives and/or US Senator offices to advocate for issues that are important to the health information management profession. The visit to Washington was organized and led by Margarita Valdez, AHIMA Director of Congressional Relations, and the AHIMA board. For this visit, called “Hill Day 2014,” there was much preparation in advance. Several informational sharing meetings with U.S. Representative and/or U.S. Senate offices were held, allowing HIM professionals to share both their concerns with specific healthcare issues and also to share the support of others.

Back in February 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) responded to AHIMA’s support of implementing ICD-10, saying: “We agree with your recommendation to continue progress towards ICD-10 implementation and maintain our commitment to the October 1, 2014, compliance date.” Marilyn B. Tavenner, Administrator of CMS, recently echoed those same words—indicating there would not be an administrative delay. CHIA also strongly supports implementation of ICD-10 this year. Even with this support and affirmation, there is still some resistance from the American Medical Association (AMA) and others regarding the implementation of ICD-10 on October 1, 2014.

Currently there are two legislative challenges facing ICD-10 implementation: HR 1701, the Cutting Costly Codes Act, introduced April 24, 2013, and S. 972, the Cutting Costly Codes Act, introduced May 16, 2013. As unbelievable as it may seem, both these bills would prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from replacing ICD-9-CM with ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS.

The opponents of ICD-10 say it is costly for small physician offices, based on some industry reports saying the price for a small practice to meet ICD-10 requirements will range from $56,639 to $226,105 per practice. The fact is that many small physician practices use superbills, which must be updated annually. AHIMA converted a superbill into ICD-10, and it took less than 8 hours. The costs related to EHR adoption and other healthcare initiatives, like meaningful use, are not directly related to the ICD-10 transition.

Also, since physician practices are only adopting the new diagnoses code set (not the procedure code set), the costs of training are much less than if they adopted both code sets.

Even though there is high volume of new codes with ICD-10, the fact is that this represents the great specificity of ICD-10 to capture detailed healthcare data, data that is needed for research, public health monitoring, quality of care measuring, pay-for-performance, outcomes studies, etc. In addition, it should be noted that many physician practices only use a subset of the codes. Many of the codes will never be used by small practices or clinical specialties. Additionally, the increase in codes is due in part to laterality (left or right side)—which is not available in ICD-9.

Remember, the codes tell the patient story, and we all want that to be as accurate and true as possible. It is imperative to advocate for ICD-10 implementation for October 2014 now in order to avoid a legislative delay. Contact your congressional representatives and give your support for ICD-10 now.

In addition, AHIMA and CHIA advocated at Hill Day for the Recovery Audit Contractor reform bill, called “Medicare Audit Improvement Act of 2013 (H.R. 1250).” This bipartisan bill addresses critical operational problems in the Medicare Recovery Audit Program and ensures that Medicare recovery auditing is efficient, transparent, and fair. When enough co-sponsors are obtained, the bill can receive a hearing in committee and eventually a vote.

It should be noted that the CHIA believes in “quality healthcare through quality information.” It is the mission of CHIA to ensure the professional and personal growth of our members and to advance the health information management profession through networking, education, shared knowledge, and advocacy.CHIA has more than 6,000 members who live and/or work in California.

AHIMA is a national nonprofit association of health information management (HIM) professionals. It has more than 72,000 members, with 17,000 student members and 300 education programs associated with two-year and four-year college programs.

For more information about ICD-10 implementation or the RAC Reform Bill, go to CHIA.org or AHIMA.org. For more information about the California Health Information Association, go to: http://CaliforniaHIA.org

Resources/references: ; http://CaliforniaHIA.org; www.ahima.org

Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.
Gloryanne Bryant, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CCDS, AHIMA-Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Gloryanne Bryant is an independent health information management (HIM) coding compliance consultant with more than 40 years of experience in the field. She appears on Talk Ten Tuesdays on a regular basis and is a member of the ICD10monitor editorial board.