Doctor concerned with health care law

Breaking news and expert analysis on legal and compliance issues

[Back To Home][Back To Archives]

From Health Law Daily, April 1, 2014

Senate agrees to another temporary “doc fix,” delays ICD-10

By Harold M. Bishop, JD

Yesterday evening at 6:59 pm ET, the Senate voted to approve a House bill (H.R. 4302) that will create another temporary “doc fix” to the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) and delay the implementation of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition, Clinical Modification/Procedure Coding System (ICD-10-CM/PCS) until at least October 1, 2015. The healthcare industry had been preparing to switch to the ICD-10 code set on October 1, 2014. The House bill passed 64-35 in the Senate and by voice vote in the House. The president was expected to sign the bill before midnight. A separate Senate bill that would have permanently fixed the SGR failed to come to a vote.

Senate bill fails. The last “doc fix” bill was set to expire at midnight on March 31, 2014, so a permanent or temporary doc fix was needed. A permanent fix was offered in S. 2110 by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), but his measure never came to a vote.  Wyden’s bill, to repeal and replace the SGR, would have been paid for by using savings from winding down military operations in Afghanistan, known as Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. However, when Wyden asked for unanimous consent to move his bill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) objected, characterizing this OCO funding mechanism as a gimmick. Sessions then moved for the Senate to pass a Republican alternative that would fund the SGR replacement by repealing the individual mandate required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Wyden objected to Session’s motion, which lead to consideration of the House alternative, H.R. 4302, Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

H.R. 4302. The bill repeals the current 24 percent cut in reimbursements for physicians treating Medicare patients set to take effect on April 1, 2014, and replaces it with a 0.5 percent update through December 31, 2014, and a zero percent update from January 1, 2015, through March 31, 2015. The bill also directs HHS to continue through June 2015 certain medical review activities related to the two-midnight rule; amends the ACA to repeal the limitation on cost-sharing (deductibles) for employer-sponsored health plans; directs HHS to specify a skilled nursing facility all-cause all-condition hospital readmission measure (or any successor) by October 1, 2015; revises requirements for the Medicare end state renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system; authorizes HHS to collect and use certain information on physicians' services in the determination of relative values in the formulae for setting physicians' fees; and increases the amounts of reductions to Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments for fiscal year (FY) 2017through FY 2024.

MainStory: TopStory FederalLegislationNews HouseNews SenateNews ReimbursementNews CMSNews BillingNews MedicaidPaymentNews PaymentNews PhysicianNews ESRDNews HealthCareReformNews HealthReformNews SNFNews DSHNews CopayNews

Health Law Daily

Introducing Wolters Kluwer Health Law Daily — a daily reporting service created by attorneys, for attorneys — providing same-day coverage of breaking news, court decisions, legislation, and regulatory activity.

A complete daily report of the news that affects your world

  • View full summaries of federal and state court decisions.
  • Access full text of legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Customize your daily email by topic and/or jurisdiction.
  • Search archives for stories of interest.

Not just news — the right news

  • Get expert analysis written by subject matter specialists—created by attorneys for attorneys.
  • Track law firms and organizations in the headlines with our new “Who’s in the News” feature.
  • Promote your firm with our new reprint policy.

24/7 access for a 24/7 world

  • Forward information with special copyright permissions, encouraging collaboration between counsel and colleagues.
  • Save time with mobile apps for your BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle.
  • Access all links from any mobile device without being prompted for user name and password.