Blackburn, Price Bill Would Provide Stability for Small Healthcare Practitioners
Proposal would allow for 180-day transition period for switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10
Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tom Price (R-GA) have introduced H.R. 3018 theCoding Flexibility in Healthcare Act, which would allow providers to use either ICD-9 or ICD-10 for a period of 6 months. It would also allow the Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell to extend the glide path for an additional 6 months if she determines that providers need more time.
“With industry surveys indicating that critical provider partners are behind schedule in deploying billing and electronic health record software, it is clear that some physicians will have no way to submit ICD-10 codes for payment,” Blackburn said. “For this reason, it is critical to establish a transition period which allows the healthcare industry to ease into compliance instead of “flipping a switch” on October 1st. Our legislation will provide stability to providers during this difficult transition period by establishing a period of 180 days where providers would be permitted to code in either ICD-9 or ICD-10.”
“Washington continues to add layers of bureaucracy that get in the way of allowing doctors to do what they are trained to do — help patients and families,” said Rep. Price, a medical doctor by trade. “A new system of over 70,000 mandated codes does nothing to help doctors care for patients and the cost is prohibitive for small business medical practices. Physicians who have been put in this unfortunate position must have time to transition – this legislation will allow them some flexibility for this change.”
ICD-10 is a coding system that doctors and hospitals must use starting October 1, 2015. It requires new software and all that entails for implementation. While larger doctor groups and hospitals are mostly ready, smaller and rural doctor practices need additional time for software vendors to have them up and running.