What's inside the new bill to kill ICD-10?

'The new ICD-10 codes will not make one patient healthier,' says the Cutting Costly Codes Act's sponsor
By Tom Sullivan
01:23 PM

Republican Texas Rep. Ted Poe resurrected the Cutting Costly Codes Act early last week, and issued a press release to match, thereby sparking the usual suspects into advocacy for ICD-10 and calls for Congress not to advance the proposed legislation.

The original version, the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013, has been dormant since the now-retired Sen. Tom Coburn, MD, R-Okla., introduced it in the Senate two years ago and Poe did the same in the House of Representatives -- but neither went anywhere.

Can the Cutting Costly Codes Act survive this time around?

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That is awfully difficult to even specualte about without being able to read the text itself, unavailable at press time, or know for certain whether or not it is a verbatim representation of the 2013 iteration.

Congress.gov, where bills usually appear "a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate" posted this canned message: "Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed."

Perhaps telling is the fact that Poe, or his staff, maintained the same tone this time around that it used in a 2013 press release about the first attempt.

"The new ICD-10 codes will not make one patient healthier," said Poe. "What it will do is put an unnecessary strain on the medical community who should be focused on treating patients, not implementing a whole new bureaucratic language. Instead of hiring one more doctor or nurse to help patients, medical practices are having to spend tens of thousands just to hire a specialist who understands the new codes. Big government must get out of the way and let doctors do what they were trained to do – help people."

What verbiage Congress.gov does have also mirrors the predecessor: "To prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services from replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10 in implementing the HIPAA code set standards."

The bill has half-a-dozen Republican co-sponsors: Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas, Reps. Mike Rogers and Mo Brooks of Alabama, Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, Rep. Tom Price of Georgia and Rep. David Roe of Tennessee.

UPDATE: The text of the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2105 is now available. Here are 3 things to know about it.
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