Congress members propose ICD-10 dual-coding bill

A new House bill would require a transition period for ICD-10 by mandating dual coding in ICD-9 and ICD-10 for six months.

The legislation, the Code-FLEX Act, introduced by Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Tom Price (R-Ga.), is just the latest move in the battle over the controversial code set.   

The new bill comes days after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services introduced measures in conjunction with the American Medical Association to ease the transition. Those measures include that Medicare claims, for the first year of ICD-10 use, will not be denied or audited based solely on the specificity of diagnosis codes, as long as the codes on such claims are from the correct family of codes in the new code set. If Medicare contractors cannot process claims due to problems with ICD-10, CMS will authorize advance payments to physicians.

In addition to those measures, the Transitioning Effectively Now Act (ICD-TEN Act), proposed by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), would require end-to-end testing of the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 by the Health and Human Services Department, and would provide an 18-month transition period to the new code set.

As for the legislation from Blackburn and Price, Robert Tennant, of the Medical Group Management Association, tells that the bill is not a delay, and would allow providers who are ready to start submitting ICD-10 codes on Oct 1. to do so.

To learn more:
- check out the bill (.pdf)
- read the ICD10Monitor article