- Despite divisions in the industry, the Senate voted Monday evening to approve a temporary patch to the SGR that will prevent deep Medicare cuts for another year. The bill also delays the implementation of ICD-10 until October 2015 at the earliest.
- The bill also postpones compliance with the two-midnight policy and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims until March 15.
- If the president adds his signature to the measure, it will be the 17th such patch that Congress has passed since the inception of the SGR formula in 1997.
The inclusion of the ICD-10 delay in the legislation came as a surprise after CMS' Marilyn Tavenner's unequivocal statement at HIMSS in February: "There are no more delays and the system will go live on Oct. 1." The "moving goal post," as some critics have called it, has divided the industry. Most major insurers and the American Hospital Association opposed the delay, while the American Medical Association and the Medical Group Management Association lobbied strongly for pushing back the launch date, citing physician and EHR vendor unreadiness. While the AMA and AGMA may be right, some hospitals that were on track to meet the October 1 deadline will have sunk needless implementation and training costs—and when the next deadline is set, the CMS may find themselves feeling like the boy who cried wolf.