‘Cromnibus’ Unlikely To Include Health IT Provisions, Sources Say

December 9, 2014 in News

Legislation to extend the ICD-10 compliance deadline or adjust the meaningful use reporting period could be included in a continuing resolution omnibus spending package, but experts say that is increasingly unlikely, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 12/9).

Background on ICD-10, Meaningful Use

U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures.

In April, President Obama signed into law legislation (HR 4302) that pushed back the ICD-10 compliance date until at least October 2015. In July, CMS announced a final rule that established Oct. 1, 2015, as the new ICD-10 compliance deadline for payers and providers still making the transition.

In a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), the Medical Society of the State of New York, the Texas Medical Association and the National Physicians’ Council for Healthcare Policy asked to delay the ICD-10 implementation until October 2017.

The groups urged Boehner to work with House Rules Committee Chair Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.) “to have this [delay] added to a must-pass piece of legislation during the upcoming Lame Duck Session in 2014″ (iHealthBeat, 12/4).

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Several prominent groups — including the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives — have been pushing CMS and lawmakers to adjust the 2015 meaningful use reporting period from a full year to 90 days (iHealthBeat, 10/9).

Details of ‘Cromnibus’ Package

Congress has until Thursday to pass a $1 trillion spending bill to continue funding the federal government, but the measure has hit some snags that could delay its passage, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Taylor, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 12/9).

The continuing resolution omnibus spending package — which many are referring to as the “cromnibus” — would fund most of the federal government through September 2015 (Health Data Management, 12/9).

A veteran health care consultant speaking on background told Modern Healthcare that a proposal to delay for another two years the implementation of ICD-10 is “not going to happen,” adding, “The reports of them ever getting traction were overrated.”

According to sources familiar with lawmakers’ discussions, Sessions discussed the possibility of including an ICD-10 provision in the budget agreement with House leadership.

The consultant — who spoke with staffers in both Republican and Democratic leadership offices — said that Sessions “definitely did make a play for it” but that “we are being told it is not going to happen” (Conn/Demko, Modern Healthcare, 12/8).

According to Health Data Management, if provisions to delay ICD-10 or tweak the meaningful use reporting period are not included in the spending package, stakeholders will have to wait until the start of the 114th Congress in January 2014 for Congress to consider such bills (Health Data Management, 12/9)

Hospital Associations Urge Congress Not To Delay ICD-10

Meanwhile, a group of hospital associations recently sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging them to avoid additional delays to ICD-10 implementation, HealthLeaders Media reports (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 12/9).

The letter was signed by:

  • America’s Essential Hospitals;
  • The American Hospital Association;
  • The Association of American Medical Colleges;
  • The Catholic Health Association of the United States;
  • The Children’s Hospital Association;
  • The National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems;
  • Premier healthcare alliance; and
  • VHA Inc. (Hospital groups’ letter, 12/5).

The groups wrote that previous “implementation delays have been disruptive and costly for hospitals and health systems, as well as to health care delivery innovation, payment reform, public health and health care payment.”

They added, “We urge Congress to avoid any further delays of this needed coding update. ICD-9 is outdated, and ICD-10 is needed to keep up with advances in medicine and ensure accurate payment.”

The groups said that their “hospital members are engaging in significant efforts to be ready for the 2015 implementation, including supporting their affiliated physicians, working with their payers and conducting training and outreach initiatives for clinicians and coders” (HealthLeaders Media, 12/9).

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