There is no mention of postponing the implementation of the ICD-10 diagnostic coding set in spending bills released by Congress this week.
ICD-10 implementation remains on track for October 1, 2015, after a series of Congressional spending bills unveiled late Tuesday contained no new delay provisions, despite the efforts of at least two state medical associations.
Proponents of keeping the 2015 date, including healthcare systems and hospitals, stepped up their own campaigns in recent days, with several large hospital associations, including the American Hospital Association, America’s Essential Hospitals, and the Association of American Medical Colleges, sending a letter to Congress asking for no further delays.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) also continued its own efforts to preserve the Oct. 1 2015 implementation date and combat the medical associations’ lobbying.
With Republicans taking control of both houses of Congress in 2015, efforts to delay ICD-10 will likely continue. It was Republicans who introduced bills to delay ICD-10 in previous years, and a Republican who introduced the bill that contained the most recent delay.
It’s likely similar, if not identical, bills will be reintroduced next year in another push to delay implementation, but it’s not likely they will gain enough support to actually be voted on, even in a Republican-controlled Congress.
The most likely scenario for seeing another delay is with next year’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) patch bill. It’s possible that Congress will finally act to fund physician Medicare payments in a truly sustainable manner, but considering the SGR has been an annual problem for more than a decade, we’ll probably see another patch bill in March.
Since physicians would see massive payment cuts if the SGR isn’t patched by a certain date, that’s the most likely vehicle to which Congress would attach a delay.