News Feature | March 27, 2014

Will ICD-10 Delay Be Approved By Congress?

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Congress to vote on possible ICD-10 delay; AHIMA urging members to contact their Representatives to have provision removed

Congress will vote today, March 27, on the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014,” which, according to EHR Intelligence, “is to extend Medicare payments to physicians as well as a host of other Medicare and Medicare programs impacted by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).”

Although this act is directed at Medicare payments, Section 12 holds a provision for ICD-10.

The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD–10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.

According to Health Data Management, Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor at the Medical Group Management Association, doubts President Obama “would fall on his sword and veto a bill affecting payments to hundreds of thousands of physicians over the issue of ICD-10. “‘Everyone realizes there are bigger issues here.’”

“The extension by a minimum of one year—that's the language, it's not one year—would be a sign to the CMS that they need to be more aggressive with testing and use the year, and not just CMS, to focus on getting end-to-end testing as part of the protocol,” Tennant is quoted as saying by Modern Healthcare.

AHIMA says another delay will cost the industry both time and money. In fact, they estimate a one year delay could cost between $1 and $6 billion dollars.

”This is approximately 10-30 percent of what has already been invested by providers, payers, vendors and academic programs in your district,” AHIMA wrote in a statement. ”Without ICD-10, the return on investment in EHRs and health data exchange will be greatly diminished … Let Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Reid know that a delay in ICD-10 will substantially increase total implementation costs in your district.”