Update: Congress to vote on ICD-10 delay Thursday

By Tom Sullivan
12:54 PM

Under the guise of the already contentious SGR fix, Congress is girding to vote on a bill Thursday that would delay ICD-10 for one year.

Such a brief mention for a bold idea, Section 212 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.”

The American Health Information Management Association responded quickly.

“AHIMA has put out a call to members and other stakeholders to contact their representatives in Congress and ask them to take the ICD-10 provision out of the SGR bill or not approve the bill,” AHIMA wrote on Wednesday.

Recognized ICD-10 expert and technology consultant Steve Sisko told Government Health IT the bill may pass the House.

“There's a good chance,” Sisko explained. “All this anti-CMS, healthcare reform is not working, HIX debacle sentiment is permeating the news cycle.”

But more important to Sisko is that pushing back the deadline would merely continue “a bad precedent of punishing those who worked in good faith to comply,” and “ICD-10 is so far along we just need to finish it.”

Even the American Medical Association, the group most staunchly oppossed to ICD-10, urged House members to vote down the bill, saying the 17th temporary patch will not strengthen Medicare.

“The case for repeal of the so-called SGR is stronger than ever. The bipartisan, bicameral agreement by the three congressional committees of jurisdiction for the Medicare program would improve quality, increase care coordination and lower total costs and is strongly supported by the AMA and over 600 other physician organizations,” AMA president Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, said in a prepared statement. “Extending the Medicare provider sequester and ‘cherry picking’ a number of cost savings provisions included in the Protecting Access to Medicare Act actually undermines future passage of the permanent repeal framework. Further, it would perpetuate the program instability that now impedes the development and adoption of health care delivery and payment innovation that can improve health care and strengthen the Medicare program.”

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Q&A: Why the U.S. actually really needs those crazy ICD-10 codes