You may have heard that a House bill was recently introduced to halt the mandatory transition to ICD-10. What does that mean for you and your practice?
The deadline for transition to ICD-10 has been pushed back a few times. Currently, the deadline is set October 1, 2015. The Cutting Costly Codes Act, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex), seeks not to delay the deadline again, but rather to do away with ICD-10 altogether.
Poe believes that ICD-10 puts an unnecessary burden on the medical community and does nothing to help the main focus of healthcare practices–treating patients. This echoes the sentiments of many small-practice physicians, who believe the new., more complex code set will take time away from their patients.
This isn’t the first time such a bill has been introduced, though. Poe and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced the first version of this bill in 2013, and it didn’t gain any traction. Is there reason to believe that it will be any different this time?
Probably not. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means, both of which have supported ICD-10 in the past. Many hospitals are in favor of ICD-10, as well. Small, independent practices, particularly in rural and inner-city areas, make up most of the opposition. Most simply cannot afford to make the very costly switch. However, more and more physicians are working for hospitals and larger medical groups, so it looks like the majority may win out on this one.
If your practice is behind on ICD-10 implementation, you’re not the only ones. According to a survey of third-party billing companies by Healthcare Billing & Management Association, many physicians aren’t prepared for the transition. Some of that lack of preparation could be attributed to the fact that the deadline has been pushed back so many times; many practices don’t feel a sense of urgency and don’t want to spend their time and money making the switch if they don’t have to.
Still, all signs point to the fact that ICD-10 is likely to happen at some point. With the current deadline approaching in less than 6 months, there isn’t much time left to prepare.