Despite overwhelming opposition, the Senate passed the temporary fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) that delays the implementation of ICD-10 to October 2015. The Senate voted 64-35 to pass the bill and now requires the President’s final signature.
The bill also postpones the “two-midnight rule”and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims until March 2015.
Industry Response to ICD-10 Delay
“There was bipartisan, bicameral support for reform this year, yet too many in Congress lacked the courage and wherewithal to permanently fix Medicare to improve care for patients and provide greater certainty for physician practices. Congressional leadership had to resort to trickery to pass an SGR patch that was opposed by physicians,” according to a statement from AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD.
Ed Park, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Athenahealth, provided the following comment:
“It is unfortunate that the government has once again chosen to delay ICD-10. athenahealth and its clients are/were prepared for the ICD-10 transition, and in fact we have national payer data showing that 78 percent of payers are currently proving readiness in line with the 2014 deadline. The moving goal line is a significant distraction to providers and inappropriately invokes massive additional investments of time and money for all. The issue is even more serious when considered in association with another short-term SGR fix and 2013’s Meaningful Use Stage 2 delay. It is alarmingly clear that health care is operating in an environment where there is no penalty for not being able to keep pace with necessary steps and deadlines to move health care forward. Our system is already woefully behind in embracing technology to drive information quality, data exchange, and efficiency, and delays like this only hinder us further.”
CMS estimates that a one year delay could cost between $1 billion to $6.6 billion, according a statement from AHIMA officials. ”This is approximately 10-30 percent of what has already been invested by providers, payers, vendors and academic programs in your district,” AHIMA wrote in a statement. ”Without ICD-10, the return on investment in EHRs and health data exchange will be greatly diminished.”