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Energy & Commerce Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Status of ICD-10

February 13, 2015— The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a Feb. 11 hearing on implementation of the International Classification of Diseases 10th revision (ICD-10). Following a series of implementation delays, providers are scheduled to adopt the new classification system beginning Oct. 1, 2015. The AAMC has previously opposed further implementation delays as they have been disruptive and costly for hospitals and health systems [see Washington Highlights Dec. 12, 2014].

In his opening statement, Subcommittee Chair Joe Pitts (R-Penn.) highlighted the aftermath of previous delays stating, “Many providers and payers, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, have already made considerable investments in the ICD-10 transition, and any further delay will entail additional costs to keep ICD-9 systems current, to re-train employees, and to prepare, again, for the transition. ICD-9 is more than thirty years old and does not capture the data needed to track changes in modern medical practice and healthcare delivery.”

Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-Texas) echoed Rep. Pitts’ comments regarding the antiquated system adding, “ICD-9 was developed in 1979 and there has been significant medical breakthroughs, of which ICD-9 does not have codes. ICD-10 would include the more accurate medical descriptions and account for varying symptoms and levels of severity. More precise and appropriate codes will have a number of benefits to our health care system.”

Several stakeholders provided testimony, many of which support the implementation of ICD-10, including representatives from Athena Health, the American Health Information Management Association, and Yale University, among others.

Yale School of Medicine Professor of Medicine John Hughes, M.D., explained one weakness of the current ICD-9 system was the lack of capacity to expand or provide new codes for emerging treatments and technologies. He further stated, “The structure of ICD‐10 allows this important information to be captured in a systematic manner, and can be readily expanded to incorporate descriptions of new discoveries and treatments when they become available. Such capacity is critical to track and assess the efficacy of these new technologies.”

However, not all witnesses supported ICD-10 implementation. William Jefferson Terry, M.D., representing the American Urological Association, expressed concerns surrounding the administrative and financial burden the new classification would impose on providers, stating “the main reason for the reduced productivity lies in the fact that ICD-10 is significantly more granular, requiring enhanced documentation. In addition, the coding guidelines associated with the new system are more complex.”


Len Marquez
Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-862-6281

Courtney Summers
Senior Legislative Analyst
Telephone: 202-862-6042


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
Sr. Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations
Telephone: 202-903-0806