AMA votes to smooth ICD-10 roll out by invoking grace period

As part of the agenda during the second day of its annual meeting, the AMA voted in support of a two-year grace period on physician penalizations following the implementation of ICD-10 in October 2015 in order to mitigate complications that may arise from system malfunction or user error after the roll out.

"The bottom line is that ICD-10 will significantly overwhelm physician practices with a 400 percent 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 Russell W.H. Kridel, MD, said in a statement following the vote. "We continue to press both Congress and the Administration to take necessary steps to avoid widespread disruption to physician practices created by this overly complex and burdensome mandate. Coding and billing protocols should never get in the way of patients receiving high quality care."

Reducing the extensive regulatory burdens that impact the ability of physician practices to focus on patient care has been a long-time goal of the AMA. In addition to advocating for this grace period, the AMA has also pushed for HHS to create hardship exemption for physicians whose billing software or claims processing clearinghouses are unable to make a smooth transition, another negative impact it anticipates stemming from ICD-10 implementation.

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