Latest ICD-10 bill calls for two-year grace period, but no delay

 - Uphill ICD-10

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before – a new bill has been introduced to the House of Representatives that aims to change ICD-10 implementation. This latest bill would not delay implementation, but it creates a two-year grace period for physicians.

H.R. 2652, the Protecting Patients and Physicians Against Coding Act of 2015, was proposed by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) on June 4. A total of 35 representatives, all republicans, co-sponsored the bill.

In addition to the grace period, the bill also calls for a study that would analyze the impact of ICD-10 codes and states that the HHS secretary must work toward helping physicians adjust to this big change.

According to the bill, “During the 2-year grace period ... the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall take affirmative steps to assist physicians and other health care providers who are subject to the requirement to use ICD-10 as a standard for code sets in identifying appropriate ICD-10 subcodes.”

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) came out against Palmer’s bill, saying that not holding physicians accountable during the grace period would lead to “inaccurate coding, improper payments, and potential medical billing fraud.”

In May, two bills were introduced in the House that also aimed to change ICD-10 implementation. H.R. 2126, the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015, was proposed by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) and would stop ICD-10 codes from ever being implemented.

Next was H.R. 2247, the Increasing Clarity for Doctors by Transitioning Effectively Now Act (ICD-TEN Act), was introduced in the House by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.). Like this latest bill, the ICD-TEN Act did not seek to have ICD-10 implementation stopped or delayed; it called for an 18-month grace period and required “comprehensive” end-to-end testing.