Updated on: March 17, 2016

AHIMA Delegates Break Ice On Capitol Hill

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Original story posted on: March 19, 2014

Wearing parkas, Ugg boots, earmuffs, and mittens, a contingent of delegates from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) braved one of the snowiest Saint Patrick’s Days in recent memory in Washington, D.C. yesterday, descending on Capitol Hill as part of the association’s 12th annual Hill Day.

 

While local weather reports indicated that much of the federal government was shut down on Tuesday, nothing appeared to be capable of dampening the enthusiasm and sheer determination of the delegates addressing their respective congressional representatives.

 

AHIMA reported that 190 members from 44 state associations participated in the daylong event. Armed with smartphones and tablets, members were urging members of Congress to hold firm to the Oct. 1, 2014 compliance date for the implementation of ICD-10. That date, although set in stone as far as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is concerned, could be altered by an act of Congress.

As recently as Feb. 18, 2014, several U.S. senators who are also doctors challenged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plan to conduct front-end testing during the so-called National Testing Week that was held from March 3-7. The senators — John Barrasso, MD, (R-Wyo.), John Boozman, OD, (R-Ariz.), and presidential hopeful Rand Paul, MD, (R-Ky.) – had written a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner questioning the need for such testing. The same group of doctors last year introduced Senate bill S. 972, the “Cutting Costly Codes Act,” which would prohibit HHS from moving forward with ICD-10.

Delegates were also advocating for reform of the recovery audit program, formerly known as recovery audit contractor (RAC) program.

Under siege by outraged provider associations and weighed down by a staggering backlog of appeals at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), CMS has hit the “pause” button on the auditors, essentially preventing them for sending post-payment audit requests beyond Feb. 21. Recovery auditors have until June 1 to send files to Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) for payment recovery.

And according to social media, nearly 1,000 tweets hashtagged #HillDay14 were posted yesterday.

Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.
Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of ICD10monitor and is the executive producer and program host of Talk Ten Tuesdays.