President Signs SGR ‘Patch’ Bill, ICD-10 Officially Delayed
By Chris Dimick for Journal of AHIMA
On Tuesday President Obama signed into law a bill that requires the federal goverment to delay the adoption of ICD-10-CM/PCS for at least one year.
The bill, H.R. 4302, Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014, mainly creates a temporary “patch” to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR). A seven-line section of the bill states that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cannot adopt the ICD–10 code set as the standard until at least October 1, 2015. The healthcare industry had been preparing to switch to the ICD-10 code set on October 1, 2014.
In a statement on the Senate vote that took place on Monday, AHIMA officials said they will work to clarify outstanding questions raised by the delay and continue to work with government officials to implement ICD-10.
“AHIMA will seek immediate clarification on a number of technical issues such as the exact length of the delay,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “AHIMA will continue our work with various public sector organizations and agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) along with our industry partners such as the ICD-10 Coalition so that ICD-10 will realize its full potential to improve patient care and reduce costs. These are goals that AHIMA and other healthcare stakeholders and our government leaders all share.”
Since the transition to ICD-10 “remains inevitable and time-sensitive because of the potential risk to public health and the need to track, identify, and analyze new clinical services and treatments available for patients,” AHIMA said in the statement the organization will continue to lend technical assistance and training to stakeholders as they are forced to navigate the challenge of preparing for ICD-10 while still using ICD-9.
Thousands of AHIMA members and ICD-10 proponents contacted their congressional representatives and senators over the last week asking them to vote against the SGR bill and not delay ICD-10.