(HealthDay News) – The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) has joined the American Medical Association and other physician organizations to request that the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) halt implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition (ICD-10), in a letter sent Dec. 20.

Noting that implementation of ICD-10, set to be introduced in October 2014 for outpatient diagnosis coding, will cause America’s physicians to shoulder an extra burden at a time when they are already overwhelmed with the burden of implementing electronic health records (EHRs) and face financial penalties if they do not participate in numerous Medicare programs, the AAFP and other organizations wrote to the CMS to ask for an end to ICD-10 implementation.

According to the letter, the ICD-10 codes will create significant burdens on physicians, with no direct effect on patient care. The ICD-10 increases the number of outpatient diagnostic codes from about 13,000 to more than 68,000. Implementation will necessitate many hours of education, training, and testing, which are likely to cost $83,290 to more than $2.7 million depending on the size of the practice. ICD-10 implementation could negatively impact the ability of physicians to participate in new health care delivery and payment reform models that are intended to foster higher quality, lower cost, and more efficient care.

“Stopping the implementation of ICD-10 and calling on appropriate stakeholders to assess an appropriate replacement for ICD-9 will help keep adoption of EHRs and physician participation in delivery and payment reform models on track and reduce costly burdens on physician practices,” the letter concludes.

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