Texas Congressman Files Bill to Halt ICD-10 Conversion

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A Texas Congressman has filed a bill to prevent the United States healthcare industry from converting to ICD-10.

This week Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) filed H.R. 1701, a bill “to prohibit the Secretary of Health and Human Services replacing ICD-9 with ICD-10 in implementing the HIPAA code set standards.” The text of the bill has yet to be officially released, but the title makes it clear that Rep. Poe wants to halt the mandatory conversion to ICD-10 on Oct. 1, 2014.

Earlier this month, Poe spoke on the floor of Congress to rail against ICD-10. “It’s red tape, it’s bureaucracy, and this is what happens when clueless Big Government here in Washington starts telling people out in the workplace – doctors and patients – what they must do,” the Congressman said. “And when the government intrudes into our lives with more regulations, the government continues to make things more complicated. It finds problems in every solution.”

In true Texas style, Poe employed homespun analogies to illustrate the problem with ICD-10 as he perceived it. If one of his grandchildren breaks his nose in a basketball game, “there are five codes for being hit in the face by a basketball,” Poe said. If another grandson is attacked by a wild turkey, “there is a code for being assaulted by a turkey for the first time. There is a code for being assaulted by the turkey a second time. There is a different code for being pecked by a turkey rather than being bitten by a turkey. There are nine codes. The doctor must get the right code or he is in violation of the law about being assaulted by that turkey. It seems nine codes for a turkey assault is a bit silly.”

Implementing ICD-10 will cost physicians $80,000, Rep. Poe said. “Doctors are really in the business of helping the sick and the injured and saving lives. Do they really have the time and money to translate a complicated 140,000 – codebook when they diagnose everything that happens?”

ICD-10 codes “are not going to make one sick person well,” Rep. Poe said, “but the Federal Government is forcing 140,000 complicated, unreasonable codes on all of us that are hard to decipher. Maybe we should sequester these new codes. Where are those World War II code breakers when we need them most? And that’s just the way it is.”

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Posted in Billing and Coding, Denials Management, Medical Receivables, Patient Experience, Patient Financial Services, Revenue Integrity .

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