House Bill Would Prohibit HHS from Replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10

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Just when stakeholders thought the October 1 ICD-10 compliance deadline was a lock, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that seeks to put the kibosh on the federal government’s plans to require the medical community to comply with the new code set.

According to Rep. Ted Poe (R-Tex.), sponsor of H.R. 2126, the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2015, ICD-10 is a “burdensome bureaucratic system” that is financially strapping physician practices across the country which are suffering under the weight of the costs. The congressman cites studies which peg the costs of the code switchover at anywhere between $56,000 on the low end and $8 million on the high end.

Though an ICD-10 delay was not included in the recently-enacted Sustainable Growth Rate reform legislation, some physicians continue to call for yet another reprieve. However, Poe’s legislative objective is not to simply delay ICD-10 implementation but to outright prohibit the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services from replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10.

Also See: House Subcommittee Voices Support for October 2015 ICD-10 Deadline

“The new ICD-10 codes will not make one patient healthier,” said Poe in a written statement. “What it will do is put an unnecessary strain on the medical community who should be focused on treating patients, not implementing a whole new bureaucratic language. Instead of hiring one more doctor or nurse to help patients, medical practices are having to spend tens of thousands just to hire a specialist who understands the new codes. Big government must get out of the way and let doctors do what they were trained to do—help people.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Tex.), Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Rep. David Roe (R-Tenn.), and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.). H.R. 2126 has been referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means.

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