SGR PATCH NOW LIKELY

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  • March 27, 2014

3/27/2014
SGR and ICD-10 Update
During a press conference on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced that a bipartisan, bicameral deal for another 12-month SGR patch was reached and should come up for vote in the House today, Thursday March 27, and then soon thereafter in the Senate.

Among other provisions, the proposed bill includes:

  • A 12-month patch for the SGR – freezing the current physician payment rate through March 2015;
  • An extension of the work GPCI floor until April 1, 2015;
  • A 1-year delay in transition from ICD–9 to ICD–10 code sets.

With regard to the ICD-10 implementation delay, the bill states, “The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD–10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.”

Although the American Medical Association (AMA) has vehemently opposed implementation of ICD-10, they have expressed their disappointment in the proposed temporary fix and are calling on members to contact their legislators and ask them not to sign the bill and to work instead on passing legislation to permanently repeal the SGR.

While many providers are relieved at the inclusion in the proposed bill of an additional one-year delay in implementation of ICD-10, it is not uniformly welcome. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is opposed to the delay and is asking their members to contact legislators and ask them to remove the ICD-10 language from the bill. In addition, The Coalition for ICD-10, a constituency of health care organizations that includes hospitals, health plans, professional associations, vendors and the HIT community state their opposition to any further delay to the ICD-10 compliance date.

Senator Boehner said he expects Congress to act promptly as he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, agreed to the proposed bill that would avert doctor payment cuts while Congress continues working on legislature that would permanently repeal the SGR. While there is bipartisan support for the permanent repeal, Congress has not been able to agree on how to fund the $138 billion cost of the SGR fix over the next ten years and with only 4 days left until the current patch expires Congress is turning to yet another temporary solution to avoid a 24% cut in physician payments that would take place April 1.

ASCO provides the following link to contact your lawmakers and ask them to support S. 2000/H.R. 4015. ASCO will continue to provide the latest developments on SGR repeal at http://ascoaction.asco.org.

DEADLINE TO ATTEST FOR MEANINGFUL USE
Monday, March 31 is the deadline for eligible professionals (EPs) to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program 2013 reporting year.  EPs must register and successfully attest by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on March 31, to receive an incentive payment for 2013 participation and avoid the 2015 payment adjustment. Click Here to go to the CMS EHR Incentive Program Registration and Attestation page.