The deadline has been pushed out twice before, of course, and industry experts are holding their collective breath waiting to see whether Congress will once again delay implementation of the new code set.
The House overwhelmingly approved a fix for Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) without any change to the ICD-10 deadline, which was a relief to those hoping to implement ICD-10 this year. But then the U.S. Senate adjourned for a two-week recess on March 27 without acting on the legislation designed to eliminate SGR.
Last year a delay of the ICD-10 deadline was added to the SGR fix bill at the last minute, and delayed the new code until 2015 at what was viewed as the eleventh hour.
Experts predict that the SGR fix will pass when the Senate reconvenes.
The bill passed by the House, known as H.R.2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, would, among other provisions:
- Repeal the SGR formula
- Provide physicians with guaranteed annual 0.5% increases in Medicare reimbursements through 2019 and maintain them at the 2019 level through 2025
- Consolidate the Meaningful Use, Physician Quality Reporting System and Value-based Modifier programs into one program known as the Merit-based Incentive System, through which physicians and other professionals could earn additional payment adjustments
- Make an additional $7.2 billion available to community health centers over the next two years
Observers had worried that another ICD-10 delay would make its way into the SGR fix because of reports that Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.), chair of the House Rules Committee, had been meeting with physicians and “discussing how ICD-10 will affect all parties in the medical community.”
Fortunately, those discussions have not so far led to legislation delaying the ICD-10 implementation date. However, a recent article in Healthcare IT News pointed out that there are at least three potential ways that Congress could still kill ICD-10, and they wouldn’t be any more surprising than the way the delay came about in 2014. So while most in the HIT community believe ICD-10 will happen this year, they are also taking a wait and see approach while encouraging practices to continue preparing for the transition.
Regardless of whether the ICD-10 deadline is moved, MediTouch is ICD-10 ready and has been since December 2013. One of the many benefits of a web-based EHR is that updates such as ICD-10 can be implemented instantly and without any cost to the practice. Plus, MediTouch provides an in-system tool that suggests appropriate ICD-10 codes based on the ICD-9 codes you have selected, making the transition that much easier.
Find resources that will help you prepare your practice for ICD-10 in our recent blog post, How to Prepare for the ICD 10 Deadline Without Blowing Your Budget.