The American College of Physicians (ACP) implored the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use the ICD-10 implementation delay to consider specifying the use of Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine – Clinical Term (SNOMED-CT), rather than ICD-10, for coding problems in all situations.
In a letter sent to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Michael H. Zaroukian, MD, PHD, chair of ACP's Medical Informatics Committee wrote, "Like HHS, ACP is concerned that the industry will not be ready to transition to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2013. Physicians are caught in a dilemma of having to simultaneously implement a multitude of healthcare reform initiatives, including a health transaction format, electronic prescribing, Physician Quality Reporting System, meaningful use, accountable care organizations, patient centered medical homes and EHRs.”
"This is an overwhelmingly complex stew of new regulations, requirements, incentives and penalties – all of which carry their own costs to human and financial resources," he added.
ACP supports the Secretary's decision to delay the compliance date for ICD-10 until Oct. 1, 2014. ACP stated it believes a delay is necessary to avoid the pressing burden that an earlier compliance date would cause.
"ACP views the proposed delay as an opportunity for HHS and the healthcare community," Zaroukian concluded. "ACP also recommends that HHS consider modifying the scope for which ICD-10 is being deployed. While it is clear that coding with a classification system such as ICD-10 has benefits when it comes to compiling data for secondary purposes, it is generally acknowledged that a reference terminology such as SNOMED-CT is much more effective for accurately capturing the nuances of health conditions and clinical care."