July 10, 2015

ICD-10 Dual Coding Bill Introduced

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A bill to provide a safe harbor period for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by allowing healthcare providers to submit claims in both ICD-9 and ICD-10 was introduced today in the House.

Today’s action caps a week of policy flurry and set off with the announcement on Monday of an agreement reached between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association, calling, in part, for a 12-month grace period for inaccurate ICD-10 code use. 

 

H.R. 3018, the Code-FLEX act, provides for a period of dual coding for six months. The bill was introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tom E. Price (R-N.C.).

“The Code-FLEX act would give physician practices much-needed flexibility and provides a window of time to address inevitable system issues,” said Robert Tennant of the Medical Group Management Association. “This would ensure that claims are processed and paid in a timely manner and that physicians would continue to be able to provide care to their patients.” 

Tennant told ICD10monitor in an email that the bill provides for a period of dual code use for six months, stressing that the bill is not a delay, as it would permit those providers who are ready to start submitting 10 codes on Oct 1. to do so.

Could provisions of this latest bill be incorporated into a new policy by the CMS, as was case with H.R. 2247, that allowed 12 months of unspecified codes, that made its way into Monday’s announcement by CMS?

“They could certainly do that without being required to by Congress,” said Tennant, adding that the agency did so in 2012 “with the exact same policy (glide path for six months when both 4010 and 5010 claim formats were permitted).”

To date there have been three bills introduced to either repeal ICD-10 or provide a transition period. The latest, H.R. 3018, offers dual coding.

“We can’t do both ICD-9 and ICD-10 at the same time,” warned Stanley Nachimson of Nachimson Advisors. “I don’t think it has much of a chance of going anywhere.”

Follow ICD10monitor and Talk Ten Tuesdays for more information on this developing story.

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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