New Bill Proposes Dual Coding Safe Harbor for ICD-10 Transition

ICD-10 RedA bill to provide a safe harbor period for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by allowing healthcare providers to submit claims in both ICD-9 and ICD-10 was introduced Friday in the House.

The action caps a week of policy flurry and set off with the announcement on Monday of an agreement reached between the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the American Medical Association, calling, in part, for a 12-month grace period for inaccurate ICD-10 code use.

H.R. 3018, Coding Flexibility in Healthcare Act of 2015 (Code-FLEX), provides for a period of dual coding for six months. The bill was introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tom E. Price (R-N.C.).

“The Code-FLEX act would give physician practices much-needed flexibility and provides a window of time to address inevitable system issues,” said Robert Tennant of the Medical Group Management Association. “This would ensure that claims are processed and paid in a timely manner and that physicians would continue to be able to provide care to their patients.”

Tennant told ICD10monitor in an email that the bill provides for a period of dual code use for six months, stressing that the bill is not a delay, as it would permit those providers who are ready to start submitting 10 codes on Oct 1. to do so.

Could provisions of this latest bill be incorporated into a new policy by the CMS, as was case with H.R. 2247, that allowed 12 months of unspecified codes, = that made its way into Monday’s announcement by CMS?

“They could certainly do that without being required to by Congress,” said Tennant, adding that the agency did so in 2012 “with the exact same policy (glide path for six months when both 4010 and 5010 claim formats were permitted).”

To date there have been three bills introduced to either repeal ICD-10 or provide a transition period. The latest, H.R. 3018, offers dual coding.

Source: ICD10 Monitor

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