and written documents. Members have been working to educate physicians and others affected by the ICD-10-CM conversion on how they can meet the requirements, use ICD-10-
CM to learn more about their practices and potential quality
improvements, and use it for more than just reimbursement.
Members and state associations are also working to help
physician implementation, whether developing a new “
su-perbill” in ICD-10-CM or implementing EHRs or administrative systems that can provide the necessary coding.
If HIM professionals cannot explain the need for new 21st-
century classification systems and how documentation and
coding need to change, who can?
AHIMA thanks members for their local and state efforts. Often grassroots efforts can affect change more than those at
AHIMA is educating policy makers on how ICD- 10 affects
federal programs like meaningful use. The association is currently completing its comments on the stage 2 meaningful
proposed rule and the accompanying EHR certification rule.
The healthcare industry will not be able to fully demonstrate
meaningful use of EHRs until the infrastructure can support
healthcare information, including ICD- 10 codes. It is time
again to call for all health IT to be able to handle ICD- 10.
HIM professionals should also provide comments and examples of how the US health information system can be improved.
In Washington, it isn’t over until it is over—and even then
decisions can be reversed. AHIMA hopes members will join
with other HIM professionals and the AHIMA board and staff
to push forward with ICD- 10 in their organizations. There is
a lot of work to be done, and HIM professionals are the ones
who can do it.
AHIMA and its allies have been asking Congress to assign
a Government Accountability Office study to determine the
potential value of using a uniform patient identifier. AHIMA
has undertaken this effort because Congress has inserted
language in every appropriations bill since 1997 that prohibits HHS from undertaking any effort that requires appropriated funds to determine whether the US should consider a
patient identifier. Only a member of Congress can request
such a study.
It appears AHIMA’s efforts have paid off. AHIMA hopes to
announce soon that Congress will request this study, thanks
in part to its March Capitol Hill efforts. Stay tuned for more
information on this in AHIMA’s weekly e-Alert newsletter.
More work will be required on this issue if the study suggests that there is value in pursuing a uniform patient identifier. Congress must pull the prohibitory language from the
current appropriations bill and HHS and its advisory committees must pursue the subject. Resolution on this issue will
take a few more years.
This is an election year, and HIM professionals should use
Word from Washington
the opportunity to educate Congressional candidates in both
parties about the HIM profession and its issues. The incom-
ing 113th session of Congress will continue to examine the
costs of the meaningful use program, funding of HIEs, gover-
nance of healthcare terminologies, and funding for the Office
of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Often individual ef-
forts to meet with a campaign, staff, or candidate can affect
more change than an organization’s advocacy efforts.
Dan Rode ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is AHIMA’s vice president of advocacy and