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Updated on: March 17, 2016

ICD-10: Dodged a Bullet – This Time

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Original story posted on: December 9, 2014

ICD-10 could live to see another day.

The House Appropriations Committee posted the $1.1 trillion spending bill Tuesday night. According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) there is no language tucked into the bill that would delay the implementation of ICD-10.

 

The House could vote as early tomorrow on the bill. And there remains the possibility that ICD-10 delay language could be inserted in the bill up until the vote is taken. The House and the Senate are expected today to vote on a stopgap measure to fund the government for several more days to give the Senate more time to review legislation before voting. Otherwise, the government would have shut down on Friday.

The bill provides funding for most government programs through the end of the 2015 fiscal year. Also in the bill is a continuing resolution (CR) to provide funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Up until yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) and some state associations (namely those in New York, Florida, and Texas) have waged an aggressive letter-writing campaign to their respective congressional delegations urging a two-year delay of adopting ICD-10. AHIMA and the Coalition for ICD-10 have responded with letters of their own and have harnessed social media, advocating that the deadline established by the final rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) remain as October 2015.

Many recall when, on March 31, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed H.R. 4302 to extend the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) while at the same time delaying the implementation of ICD-10 for at least one year. The provision for extending the ICD-10 delay was tucked into the earlier House bill as a temporary measure the industry has come to call the "doc fix." By voting for it, Congress was able to sidestep for the 17th time the repeal of the contentious SGR formula that was incorporated into the 1997 Balanced Budget Act. At the time, Congress saw the SGR as a means with which to rein in Medicare reimbursement to physicians. Annual "doc fixes" to temporarily repeal the SGR have come to characterize the inability of Congress to resolve controversial issues.

Although the SGR is not expected to surface before Congress adjourns for the holidays, there is the possibility that history could repeat itself when it appears on the congressional radar screen again when comes up for a vote on or before March 31, 2015.

"Despite the rash of rumors, there is no legislative move to delay ICD-10 at this time," Stanley Nachimson told ICD10monitor in an email. "Organizations should move forward on implementation for Oct 1 2015 to avoid any revenue disruption."

 

Chuck Buck

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

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