Two New Legislative Approaches to ICD-10

With the clock ticking toward an October 1, 2015 compliance deadline for ICD-10, Tennessee Rep. Diane Black recently introduced a bill, HR 2247, that would require a transition period for the changeover from ICD-9 codes. Rep. Black’s bill would not stall the October 1 compliance date, but it would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide transparent end-to-end testing of the new system to certify that it’s fully functional. According to the legislation, during the testing period and for 18 months following HHS certification, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would be prohibited from denying claims “due solely to the use of an unspecified or inaccurate code.” Essentially, that means CMS would have to accept, process, and pay claims that are submitted with either ICD-9 or ICD-10 codes.

Two weeks prior to the filing of Rep. Black’s legislation, Texas Rep. Ted Poe introduced HR 2126, which would simply prohibit HHS from replacing ICD-9 until the Comptroller General completes a study “to identify steps that can be taken to mitigate the disruption on health care providers resulting from a replacement of ICD-9.” Both pieces of legislation have been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Ways and Means.

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