Congress gets serious about ICD-10 implementation

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale

There was a false alarm Monday when I thought I found the ICD-10 delay final rule in the Federal Register.

Tucked away in Docket# CMS-2014-0090 was the heading "Implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM)." Backing up, I found it was part of the "Medicare and Medicaid Programs; CY 2015 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update; Home Health Quality Reporting Requirements; and Survey and Enforcement Requirements for Home Health Agencies (CMS-1611-P)." Not even close.

My "find" was simply a notice that home health claims would be coded in ICD-9 codes until Sept. 30, 2015.  But all was not lost. The Coalition for ICD-10 found a letter written to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner about ICD-10 preparedness.

Leadership on the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee wants to be kept informed on how the ICD-10 transition is going. They want to know:

  • What CMS is doing to help the healthcare industry.
  • How CMS plans on conducting end-to-end testing and why it's delayed until 2015.
  • What is the progress of the ICD-10 transition for Medicare and Medicaid.

That sounds like we got some Congressional hearings coming. Actually, it will probably be just one. Because just one round of testimony on ICD-10 preparation should be enough to persuade lawmakers that they have more interesting things to worry about.

Tavenner could persuade them that it's important and that ICD-10 coding is the key to cutting fraud and abuse from U.S. healthcare.

We should then get some sense of how likely Congress would let another delay slip through the legislative cracks.