If legislation to extend the ICD-10 compliance date and/or permit a 90-day EHR meaningful use reporting period in 2015 is to succeed, it will be during the next few days.
And it will come in the form of a CRomnibus, a made-up word for an old congressional trickshoving everything really important into a last minute-piece of legislation and hoping it all flies through the House and Senate. This bill would fund almost all of the government through September 2015, except spending in the Department of Homeland Security and elsewhere related to implementing President Obamas executive order on immigration, which would get two or three months of money.
Funding for the government runs out on Dec. 11, which is also the scheduled day for Congress to wrap up work and send members home. Consequently, the ideal plan is for the House Rules and Appropriations Committees to have the bill ready for debate on Dec. 9 and pass it on Dec. 10.
So, if a congressional member is going to successfully drop other amendments into the CRomnibus, such as extending ICD-10 or imposing a 90-day meaningful use reporting period, it will be soon. Otherwise, these important health industry issues wait at least a little longer for resolution in the 114th Congress starting in January.
Legislation to limit Food and Drug Administration regulation of health information technology also could be in the mix this week, but is doubtful, says Janet Marchibroda, director of the health innovation initiative of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which promotes balanced policymaking. Two Senators recently introduced the MEDTECH Act, (S. 2977), but that likely was done to give a preview before the new congressional session starts in January when it will be reintroduced. Similar legislation also is pending in the House but likely will wait.
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