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Outgoing AHIMA President Angela Kennedy talks 2015 priorities

Departing AHIMA President Angela Kennedy explains why the conversion to ICD-10 shouldn't be put off any longer.

In this podcast, recorded at the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Convention and Exhibit in San Diego, SearchHealthIT talked with Angela Kennedy, the departing AHIMA president and chairman, about data governance, interoperability, ICD-10, and how health information management directors can best work with CIOs.

Kennedy, who delivered a rousing, emotional speech on the AHIMA convention floor about her adopted daughter's belated diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and series of problems in the girl's medical record due to lack of electronic record-keeping, also addressed the so-called ICD-10 coder shortage.

The popular AHIMA president also reiterated AHIMA's strong backing for ICD-10 and noted that ICD-9 does not include a code for the deadly Ebola virus, now causing so much worry around the world. The U.S. must move to ICD-10, she said -- no later than the Oct. 1, 2015 date set by Congress after a controversial one-year delay -- to improve diagnosis quality and keep pace with most countries internationally, which already have been on ICD-10 for many years.

Still, Kennedy declared, the U.S. has the best healthcare in the world.

Kennedy didn't directly address the arguments of those who criticize the ICD-10 medical coding system as too expensive and leading to insurance company claims rejections. But she left no doubt that she and her AHIMA flock are dedicated to ICD-10 and strongly believe it is a too-long-delayed step forward.

As far as any coder shortage, tune in to hear the charismatic Kennedy's view of that alleged problem.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Shaun Sutner, news and features writer or contact @SSutner on Twitter.

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