Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) has introduced a new bill into the US House of Representatives that calls for an 18-month transition period following the implementation of ICD-10 on October 1. The bill, Increasing Clarity for Doctors by Transitioning Effectively Now Act or the ICD-TEN Act (H.R. 2247), would “require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide for transparent testing to assess the transition under the Medicare fee-for-service claims processing system from the ICD-9 to the ICD-10 standard, and for other purposes.”
The bill does not halt or delay the October 1, 2015 implementation deadline. However, it would require HHS to conduct “comprehensive, end-to-end testing” available to all providers to assess whether the Medicare fee-for-service claims processing system is fully functioning with the new ICD-10 code set.
The 18-month transitional period will provide a “safe harbor” for providers, preventing the rejection of claims and denial of payment based solely on the sub-coding specificity. Following the 18-month transition period, HHS would be required to submit a report to Congress certifying whether or not the ICD-10 standard is fully functional and not hindering the fulfillment of provider claims.
AHIMA officials have spoken out against the bill stating that ICD-10 contingency plans supported by CMS have already been put in place, are working well, and will ensure the industry is ready to effectively use ICD-10 in October.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means. Black serves on the Ways and Means Committee.