Sandy's Corner

“It’s déjà vu all over again!”

Well, it is that time of year again, a time to think kindly of the wisdom of the Yogi-isms left to us by Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra. After witnessing Mickey Mantle and then Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs over and over again in the 1960s, Mr. Berra quipped, “It’s déjà vu all over again.” His wit and wisdom – which appear to be encapsulated in the nonsensical – always seem to perfectly capture an idea or emotion and could not be more appropriate in relation to the recent action by the U.S. Congress on March 27, 2014.

While the medical community across the United States has been preparing-retracting, preparing-retracting (…) preparing-retracting for the implementation of the ICD-10 codes for some time now (we will be kind and just use the word “years” here) it was looking like the implementation finish line of October of 2014 actually had a fighting chance of being met – heck, even Vegas had dramatically reduced the posted odds to 30-1 that they would be adopted this fall.

But, as luck would have it, it was déjà vu all over again on March 27, 2014, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed “House Resolution 4302 (H.R.4302) Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.” While the core of H.R.4302 is an act “to amend the Social Security Act to extend Medicare payments to physicians and other provisions of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and for other purposes,” it contained an added provision to delay the adoption and use of the ICD-10 coding system from October 1, 2014, to October 1, 2015.

As currently drafted, the legislation would postpone the process by restricting the Secretary of Health and Human Services from adopting the ICD-10 code sets as the standard prior to Oct. 1, 2015. The bill is now with the U.S. Senate and is on the calendar for a March 31 final consideration and 60 affirmative vote threshold and is expected to pass and be sent to President Obama for signature. At this point in time, H.R.4302 is not law and no delay until October 1, 2015, is official, but Medata is monitoring H.R.4302 and will provide further updates as this legislation navigates through the adoption process.

While H.R.4302 only legislates a delay to the federal adoption of the ICD-10 code sets, it will likely have an impact on each state’s workers’ compensation program that may have adopted, or is in the process of adopting, its own distinct and individual timeline. For example, the workers’ compensation programs in California, Texas, and Maryland have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, October 1, 2014, as their ICD-10 implementation date. Regardless of H.R.4302’s outcome, these jurisdictions have their own implementation date that can only be altered by their own individual state bodies. However, some insiders expect that should H.R.4320 be adopted, that these and all other states will likely take action to alter their timelines to match the federal implementation due to the complexity of being out of synch with CMS, complaints from the medical community that they are not ready for October of 2014 as it is, and the inability to run two whole cross-walked sets of codes at the same time.

Until such changes in course are taken though, everyone should continue to cautiously continue their ICD-10 implementation efforts in the affected states for an October 1, 2014, activation. Medata will continue to monitor the federal, as well as individual state, legislative processes governing the rollout of ICD-10 and will keep you informed as changes arise. In the meantime, feel free to choose the most appropriate Yogi-ism below to insert as you see best: ________________.

  • I wish I had an answer to that because I’m tired of answering that question.
  • When you arrive at a fork in the road, take it.
  • You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.
  • I just want to thank everyone who made this day necessary.