The tumultuous road to ICD-10 has been fraught with anxiety, dissenting voices, and delays. Furthermore, uncertainty over the possibility of further setbacks has led many providers and vendors to fall behind in preparedness. However, as you may already know, ICD-10 didn’t make it into the newly passed SRG bill (a.k.a. HR2). And that’s a positive step forward from last year’s SGR legislation, which ultimately delayed implementation until October 1, 2015. But does that mean we’re really free and clear of yet another delay? Eh—sort of.
Even though this year’s legislation didn’t mention ICD-10, it could have. If Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) had been successful, HR2 would have included an amendment postponing the ICD-10 transition until October 1, 2017. Thankfully, that proposal didn’t make the cut, but the fact that it was part of the conversation at all is a bit worrisome. Plus, there are still folks out there—like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), and Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX)—who could attempt to resurrect dead amendments or push brand new legislation through to enactment as quickly as last year’s Protecting Access to Medicare Act.
The good news is that folks seem to be on board the ICD-10 train in much greater numbers than last year—and the dissenters have been far less vocal with their concerns. And ultimately, the government has made zero effort to further push back the deadline for the switch to ICD-10, and officials seem confident that CMS is ready for the transition. Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health have even declared their support for maintaining the current deadline.
While another delay is unlikely, no one can predict the future. Still, one thing remains certain: practices must be prepared. Stick to your ICD-10 preparations schedule, and keep an eye out for updates. If things change, we’ll let you know.