Providers could have one more year to prepare for ICD-10 after the U.S. House of Representatives today voted "yes" via voice vote to a 12-month sustainable growth rate (SGR) patch bill that included an ICD-10 delay by at least one year to Oct. 1, 2015.
The bill has to go to the Senate, and a spokesperson for the Senate Finance Committee said today that it has not received the bill and doesn't expect to before tomorrow. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had reached a deal on the legislation.
Some kind of short-term fix is needed to prevent a mandated 20.1% SGR cut to physicians' Medicare pay April 1. The last legislative patch, which prevented the cut through March 31, was passed in January (PBN 1/6/14).
The AMA came out against the bill. Accusing the authors of "cherry-picking" cost-savings provisions from previous, full-repeal SGR bills that had been proposed, AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, M.D., said the new bill "actually undermines future passage of the permanent repeal framework."
"Full repeal of the SGR is the answer to strengthening the Medicare program, not another patch," said Hoven. Hoven's statement was supported by several other medical groups, including the Medical Group Management Association, American College of Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians.
The new bill would hold off the cut until April 1, 2015. Some features would ostensibly save the Medicare program money to pay for the patch, in the short and the long term – for example, a section "Ensuring Accurate Valuation of Services Under the Physician Fee Schedule" would save $4 billion from 2014 to 2024, according to a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) scoring of the bill.