“Boycott” Discussion Tabled over Legal Concerns
The American Medical Association (AMA) is likely to demand a grace period so that payments to physicians will not be delayed, according to a June 7 report in MedPage Today. More than 500 delegates gathered on Sunday, June 7 at the AMA annual conference in Chicago, where the Oklahoma delegation proffered a resolution to encourage physicians nationwide to simply boycott the use of ICD-10 codes. For fear of possible legal action by the Federal Trade Commission, the AMA immediately squashed any debate or even discussion of that resolution.
AMA Wants a “Grace Period”
Nevertheless, ICD-10 was still discussed, with the idea of a “soft-landing compromise” in the form of a grace period leading the alternatives. If the grace period cannot be arranged, then the delegates requested that the AMA consider some kind of “judicial remedy” seeking to prevent financial harm to physician practices, thus harming their patients.
ICD-TEN Act Introduced in May
Recently, a bill was introduced on the House of Representatives, H.R. 2247, calling for a transition plan with limited enforcement. While the bill is fully supported by the AMA, officials from the AHIMA do not support such a “delay in enforcement” because in their opinion, CMS ICD-10 “contingency plans” are already in place, are working well, and AHIMA is convinced those plans will ensure an effective transition in October. They also note that CMS has indicated that it could grant “advance payments” to any physicians that do experience cash flow disruptions as a result of the ICD-10 transition, based upon its existing payment policies available when a provider incurs a temporary delay in its billing process causing financial difficulties for a provider. AHIMA further suggested that the proposed “grace” period would “create an environment that’s ripe for fraud and abuse.”