The House of Representatives voted “YES” yesterday, March 27, 2014, on a bill that would delay ICD-10 implementation until October 1, 2015. The vote will now go to the Senate, and if passed, will move to the President’s desk for signature or veto.
The bill was originally designed to delay the hefty 24% cut in Medicare physicians’ payment, which is otherwise scheduled to go into effect on April 1, 2014 as a result of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). This delay of SGR implementation has become Congress’ “default” response to the flawed SGR formula. This will be the 17th time that Congress has authorized a temporary “patch” rather than a permanent solution. Meanwhile – in the midst of this bill is an understated but critical provision that would extend the implementation date of ICD-10 from October 1, 2014 to October 1, 2015.
Section 212 of the bill states:
“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 13 Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 14 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.”
This recent development comes to many as a surprise, since CMS has been adamant that the 2014 ICD-10 implementation date was to remain firm. In fact, it was only last month in February 2014 that CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner affirmed that a delay was not expected.
Along with all of the medical community, we will be holding our breath and closely following these significant developments.