Congress should be realistic about timing when it asks the health insurers and providers to move to a new language for describing medical diagnoses and procedures.
Officials at America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, made that plea today during a conference call held to discuss a proposed shift to the International Classification of Diseaseas, 10th Revision, from a modified version of the ninth revision.
The U.S. health care system has been using ICD-9-CM, a coding system that offers a choice of about 24,000 codes, since the 1980s.
The World Health Organization released the 10th revision, which offers a choice of about 200,000 codes, in 1992. The United States began using the 10th revision to describe causes of death in 1999, but it is still working on using ICD-10 to report matters related to morbidity.
A bill in the U.S. House would require health insurers to complete the shift to ICD-10 by 2009.
Pushing the completion date back to 2012 would be more reasonable, AHIP President Karen Ignagni said.
Although shifting to ICD-10 will give health care providers and payers a much more detailed system for describing medical procedures and diagnoses, it also will force every entity active in health care to make major changes, AHIP officials said.