Health Information Management

Support for another ICD-10 delay may be dwindling in Congress

APCs Insider, March 6, 2015

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By Steven Andrews
Providers and Congress members largely support ICD-10 implementation on October 1, 2015, according to a recent subcommittee hearing. CMS completed a successful round of end-to-end testing, with only 3% of errors related to invalid ICD-10 codes. Even the independent Government Accountability Office reported that CMS is adequately preparing for the transition.
But the Congressional meddling may not yet be over.
This week, Margarita Valdez, senior director of Congressional relations for AHIMA, said in an email to members that House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, is looking for support from colleagues for yet another ICD-10 delay.
I've also heard that other Congressmen are denying that Sessions is seeking to introduce new legislation for a delay, but that could simply be a matter of semantics. Any delay would likely be added to an existing bill, not introduced separately. Inquiries to Sessions' press office have not been returned as of press time.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as Sessions worked with state and national medical associations last fall to gather support for a two-year delay to implementation. However, soon after ICD-10 proponents began to push back against that delay, Sessions released a statement that didn't exactly support sticking with an October 1, 2015 implementation date, but noted it was "an important milestone" many stakeholders were working hard to reach.
Along with House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., Sessions said that it is "essential that we understand the state of preparedness at CMS" as the implementation date nears.
Since that statement, the evidence has shown CMS, and the industry, to be reasonably prepared for the transition, so it's hard to tell why he'd be continuing to seek another delay. Even Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health, who introduced the bill responsible for last year's delay, supports sticking with the current date.
Is your facility prepared for ICD-10 and nervous about the prospects of yet another delay? AHIMA urges stakeholders to call Sessions at (202) 225-2231 or tweet him @PeteSessions and let him know how much time and effort you've put toward implementation.

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