Senate Passes ‘Doc Fix’ Bill With One-Year ICD-10 Deadline Delay

On Monday, the Senate voted 64-35 to pass a House-approved measure (HR 4302) that would delay a scheduled 24% cut to Medicare physician reimbursement rates and push the ICD-10 compliance deadline to 2015, Modern Healthcare reports (Hollander, Modern Healthcare, 3/31). The bill now goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it before the scheduled cuts take effect on Tuesday (Lowery, “Post Politics,” Washington Post, 3/31).


Background on ICD-10

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.
In August 2012, HHS released a final rule that officially delayed the ICD-10 compliance date from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014, partially to look at the incremental changes needed in reforming health care.


How Bill Would Affect ICD-10

The “doc fix” legislation, introduced by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.), would push back the ICD-10 compliance date until at least October 2015. The measure states, “The Secretary of Health and Human Service may not, prior to Oct. 1, 2015, adopt ICD-10 code sets as the standard for codes sets.” It also cites sections in the Social Security Act and the Code of Federal Regulations, which contain the secretary’s authority to mandate the new code sets. CMS estimates that a one-year delay of ICD-10 could cost between $1 billion and $6.6 billion, according to a blog post by the American Health Information Management Association, which opposes the bill (iHealthBeat, 3/28).


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Date of Publication: 4/1/14

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