****Update, 3/25/15: Today the House Rules Committee unanimously voted to close H.R. 2 and not allow any amendments to the bill. An amendment was proposed by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL) calling for a delay of ICD-10 implementation until October 1, 2017, but was not added to H.R. 2 since the committee closed the bill. The House is expected to vote on the original version of H.R. 2, which does not include any ICD-10 related language, on Thursday morning.****
This morning bipartisan leaders of the US House Energy and Commerce and House Ways and Means Committees introduced a bill that, if passed, would permanently replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). The bill, H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, did not include any language related to ICD-10 as of press time, though AHIMA’s advocacy staff has said they are monitoring the proceedings closely for any potential ICD-10 delay amendments. Last March an ICD-10 delay was slipped into legislation creating a temporary fix to the SGR.
But unlike last year’s SGR patch, the 17th of its kind passed by Congress in 12 years, the current bill gaining traction in Washington, DC would repeal and replace the SGR formula for good. H.R. 2 is a bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would replace the SGR formula with “a stable payment system that promotes higher quality care for seniors,” according to a press release issued by Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
Currently H.R. 2 does not have any language relating to ICD-10. However, AHIMA’s advocacy staff has said that proponents of the October 1, 2015 implementation deadline must remain vigilant in contacting their representatives and senators to prevent any delay language from being added as an amendment to the bill.
Whether or not any amendments can be added to the bill will be determined by the House Rules Committee on Wednesday, which will decide if H.R. 2 should be open (amendments allowed) or closed (no amendments allowed). The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on H.R. 2 on Thursday.
Legislators have until March 31 to pass legislation to prevent the Sustainable Growth Rate formula from being implemented, which would mean a 21.2 percent cut in Medicare payments to providers.