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ICD-10 Deadline Deja Vu

By: Nextech | May 13th, 2015

ICD-10 Deadline Deja Vu Blog Feature

Here we go again.

With nearly five months until the mandated ICD-10 implementation deadline, it appears some lawmakers are championing for yet another delay of the international coding system. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), a longtime detractor of ICD-10, has once again proposed a bill that would halt the upcoming compliance deadline. 

In what amounts to a duplicate of Poe's failed bid to stop ICD-10 back in 2013, the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015 aims to “prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services form replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10 in implementing the HIPAA code set standards.”

Poe is hoping the 2015 version of this bill will receive more consideration from the House than it did two years ago, but as of now it's considered a long shot.

6 Surprising Side Effects of ICD-10: Click to Learn MoreAlso known as H.R. 2126, Poe’s bill is only in the infant stages in regard to becoming a potential law. At this point, it’s only been referred to two House of Representatives committees: Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means.

Touting the extreme costs of implementing ICD-10, Poe doesn’t see any benefit to transition away from ICD-9 and his bill aims to put an indefinite hold on the compliance deadline.

“The new ICD-10 codes will not make one patient healthier,” Rep. Poe said in a press release. “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.”

Would H.R. 2126 Actually Become a Law?

If the past is any indication, the short answer is no.

Poe’s prior attempt at preventing the ICD-10 implementation in 2013 was shut down rather quickly as not much consideration was given by the House committees. And there’s no reason to believe that will change this time around.

RELATED: SGR bill will not cause ICD-10 Delay

Yes, there’s been multiple delays of ICD-10, and the fears of implementing this new coding system are still prevalent in parts of the healthcare community due to the high costs and training involved with the transition. However, support for maintaining the Oct. 1, 2015, deadline for ICD-10 has grown. Back in December, a joint statement from the House Energy & Commerce and Rules Committees advocated for the compliance cutoff to remain at its current timeline.

“As we look ahead to the implementation date of ICD-10 on October 1, 2015,” said Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI and Pete Sessions (R-TX), “we will continue our close communication with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to ensure that the deadline can successfully be met by stakeholders.”

OldWayNewWayChalkboard.jpgWhat are your next steps?

Even with the large amount of public support, there are no guarantees in regard to ICD-10 and the U.S. government, as evidenced by the last-minute delays over the past few years.

So with the ICD-10 debate flaring up once again in Congress, healthcare providers may be unsure of what to do as they wait for an outcome on Poe’s latest anti-ICD-10 proposal.

Here are some practical next steps you can take:

  • Don’t bring ICD-10 prep to a standstill. This new bill from Congress might drum up recurring concerns of another ICD-10 delay, but don’t let that keep your practice from preparing. Based how Poe’s previous bill was received, along with the public support in favor of the current ICD-10 compliance deadline, chances are there won’t be any additional changes to the ICD-10 timeline. Don’t risk the productivity of your practice by holding off on ICD-10 training because of this latest developmentyou’ll find yourself playing catch-up as the deadline passes.
  • Stay current on any developments. With ICD-10, changes can be made in a short amount of time. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on Congress and any developments regarding Poe’s Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015. If any significant changes are made to the upcoming ICD-10 deadline, staying on top of the most updated information will put you and your practice in the best position to remain efficient and unaffected by any new developments.
  • Let your voice be heard. No matter where your allegiances lie on this ICD-10 debate, your opinion won’t matter much if you don’t speak out. AHIMA encourages those who are in favor of keeping the current ICD-10 deadline to reach out to your local senator or representative and express your support. Either way, be sure to utilize the resources around you in order for your voice to have importance on this divisive issue.