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New ICD-10 Legislation Calls for Coding Flexibility

July 14, 2015
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Yet another bill has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives with the aim to institute a “safe harbor” period following the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

The bill, H.R. 3018, the Code-FLEX Act, calls for dual coding for six months after the ICD-10 transition deadline, which is set for Oct. 1, 2015. The legislation was introduced by Representatives Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Tom E. Price (R-NC).

Code-FLEX, if enacted, requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to report to Congress 90 days after implementation of ICD-10 on the impacts the new codes are having on providers, patients and other stakeholders. This legislation is the latest in a series of bills introduced into Congress that have called for either a transition period following ICD-10 implementation or an outright delay.

However, last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a joint effort with the American Medical Association (AMA) to help providers get ready for ICD-10. Part of that effort will include CMS, for the first 12 months post-transition, not denying or auditing physician or other practitioner claims solely on the specificity of the ICD-10 diagnosis code as long as the physician/practitioner used a valid code from the right family

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