"The benefits of ICD-10 to reduce costs and improve patient care are invaluable to the future of our healthcare system," said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon. "We recommend that HHS reach out to the full healthcare community and gather more information about the great strides many have achieved – in good faith – since the ICD-10 deadline was set in January 2009. AHIMA is committed to moving forward with this transition and will continue to be a leading voice on this issue."
Gordon emphasized that the healthcare industry should continue with its ICD-10 planning efforts regardless of any delay announced by HHS.
"Many entities, including hospitals and healthcare systems, health plans, vendors and academic institutions, have put a great deal of energy and resources into preparing for ICD-10's implementation," Gordon said. "AHIMA does not want this progress and investment to be lost in a delay. We call on HHS to not delay and urge the healthcare community to not to let up on implementation efforts."
Gordon also stressed AHIMA's commitment to the adoption and use of electronic health records and information exchange, noting that only with a twenty-first century classification system would the investment in these national goals be achieved.
According to Dan Rode, vice president for advocacy and policy at AHIMA, some of the current pressures experienced by the healthcare industry are in part created by the previous delays in implementing ICD-10.
[See also: ICD-10 a serious 'pocketbook' issue]
"The healthcare industry finds itself trying to move into the twenty-first century with electronic health records and health information exchange, but it is dealing with a data classification system that is nearly 40 years old," he said. "The critical high-quality coded data that ICD-10 will give us will help improve the quality of healthcare for all patients."
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