Current Issue - July/August 2015 - Vol 18 Issue 4


  1. 2015;18;E485-E495The Tragedy of the Implementation of ICD-10-CM as ICD-10: Is the Cart Before the Horse or Is There a Tragic Paradox of Misinformation and Ignorance?
    Health Policy Review
    Mark V. Boswell, MD, PhD, Alan D. Kaye, MD, PhD, Vijay Singh, MD, and Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD.

The forced implementation of ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification) codes that are specific to the United States, scheduled for implementation October 1, 2015, which is vastly different from ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases,  Tenth Revision), implemented worldwide, which has 14,400 codes, compared to ICD-10-CM with 144,000 codes to be implemented in the United States is a major concern to practicing U.S. physicians and a bonanza for health IT and hospital industry. This implementation is based on a liberal interpretation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires an update to ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification) and says nothing about ICD-10 or beyond. On June 29, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency unreasonably interpreted the Clean Air Act when it decided to set limits on the emissions of toxic pollutants from power plants, without first considering the costs on the industry. Thus, to do so is applicable to the medical industry with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unreasonably interpreting HIPAA and imposing existent extensive regulations without considering the cost.
In the United States, ICD-10-CM with a 10-fold increase in the number of codes has resulted in a system which has become so complicated that it no longer compares with any other country. Moreover, most WHO members use the ICD-10 system (not ICD-10-CM) only to record mortality in 138 countries or morbidity in 99 countries. Currently, only 10 countries employ ICD-10 (not ICD-10-CM) in the reimbursement process, 6 of which have a single payer health care system.
Development of ICD-10-CM is managed by 4 non-physician groups, known as cooperating parties. They include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CMS, the American Hospital Association (AHA), and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AHIMA has taken the lead with the AHA just behind, both with escalating profits and influence, essentially creating a statutory monopoly for their own benefit. Further, the ICD-10-CM coalition includes 3M which will boost its revenues and profits substantially with its implementation and Blue Cross Blue Shield which has its own agenda. Physician groups are not a party to these cooperating parties or coalitions, having only a peripheral involvement.
ICD-10-CM creates numerous deficiencies with 500 codes that are more specific in ICD-9-CM than ICD-10-CM. The costs of an implementation are enormous, along with maintenance costs, productivity, and cash disruptions.