ICD-10 legislation has 2 bad ideas for the price of 1

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

I'm not a fan of Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas. His bill to prevent the federal government from mandating ICD-10 implementation is poorly conceived.

[See also: Turkey assaults ICD-10 codes in Congress]

The Government Printing Office finally released the text of H.R. 1701: Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013 this week. And it's a quick read. There are two basic parts:

  1. The ban on mandating ICD-10 compliance
  2. A study on mitigating the effects of replacing ICD-9 coding.

That second part is intriguing:

"(1) STUDY- The Comptroller General of the United States, in consultation with stakeholders in the medical community, shall conduct a study to identify steps that can be taken to mitigate the disruption on health care providers resulting from a replacement of ICD-9 as such a standard.

"(2) REPORT- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit to each House of Congress a report on such study. Such report shall include such recommendations respecting such replacement and such legislative and administrative steps as may be appropriate to mitigate the disruption resulting from such replacement as the Comptroller General determines appropriate."

I bet the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can make the argument that it already has done that. The answer would be ICD-10 compliance on Oct. 1, 2014. And Google "ICD-10 mitigation" to get an abundance of advice.

But I would like to see someone figure out how to keep an ICD transition from becoming Codaggedon. Which we won't be able to do until the ICD-11 code sets actually exist. That's not going to happen within Poe's six-month limit.