Vital Signs Blog

ICD-10 delay appears DOA in Congress this year

A proposal to delay implementation of ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codes by an additional two years appears to be going nowhere in the current lame duck session of Congress.

“That's not going to happen,” said a veteran healthcare consultant who tracks the issue closely, speaking on background. “The reports of them ever getting traction were overrated.”

The Texas Medical Association has been lobbying for the two-year delay. The nation's largest state medical society for physicians, with 48,000 members, wants to push back the adoption date for the oft-delayed change to 2017.

The association's position apparently found a champion in Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), a nine-term incumbent who currently chairs the House Rules Committee. Sessions raised the possibility with House leadership of including such a provision in the budget agreement—what's being billed the “cromnibus”—to keep the government funded, according to sources familiar with the discussions. Sessions' office didn't respond to a request for comment about the issue.

The federal government is set to run out of money Dec. 11 if Congress doesn't authorize additional spending, making a funding bill a perfect vehicle for attaching special causes such as an ICD-10 delay since the overall bill must pass to keep the government open.

But the proposed ICD-10 delay, which would infuriate other interested healthcare parties that have been moving forward with plans to implement the coding changes next year, doesn't appear to be going anywhere.

“(Sessions) definitely did make a play for it,” said the consultant, who has spoken with staffers in the offices of both the Republican and Democratic leadership. But “we are being told it is not going to happen.”

Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko

Follow Joseph Conn on Twitter: @MHJConn


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