The House of Representatives passed a bill yesterday which:
- Delayed the sustainable growth rate (SGR)-related adjustment to Medicare payments for one year (avoiding a 24 percent reduction in physician reimbursement for Medicare visits).
- Delayed the auditing of the “two midnight rule” to March 31, 2015 (an effective six-month delay).
- Delayed the implementation of ICD-10 until Oct. 1, 2015.
If ICD-10 implementation is delayed, I believe the net effect would be positive. Hospitals will have an opportunity to evaluate ICD-10 solutions in more depth, rather than rushing to implement what they can.
The possible next steps from a legislative perspective are as follows:
- The bill moves to the Senate where an ICD-10 delay is extremely undesirable. The Senate can vote on the bill as is, or remove the ICD-10 delay.
- If the Senate passes a version of the bill without the ICD-10 delay, the bills will likely be sent to committee for reconciliation with a final bill that is a compromise between the two.
- Alternatively, the House could consider passage of a modified bill that would likely pass both houses.
I expect further action imminently as the SGR issue must be addressed by March 31st to avoid reductions in reimbursement.