Senate Votes to Repeal SGR Formula: One Step Closer to ICD-10

Senate Votes to Repeal SGR Formula: One Step Closer to ICD-10

by Pamela J. Haney, MS, RHIA, CCS, CIC, COC
Director of Training and Education for Libman Education

Late Tuesday, April 14, the Senate voted 92-8 to finally repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that adjusts Medicare payments to physicians. The other good news is that, unlike last year, an ICD-10 implementation delay was not part of that legislation!

The bill includes replacing the SGR with an increase of 0.5% in Medicare physician payments starting in July of this year, with an annual 0.5% increase through 2019. Also included in the bill were merit-based incentive payments to physicians to consider alternative reimbursement programs.

There are, however, a series of bills making their way through Congress, which has until September 30th to consider them. ICD-10 stakeholders breathed a sigh of relief, but we have not made it out of the woods just yet!

What should you do? The best course of action is to continue to prepare for ICD-10 implementation as scheduled on October 1, 2015. Provide additional training for your coders in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, as well as the ICD-10 classification system. Work with your providers on improving documentation specificity. Follow these recommendations and you will be well prepared for ICD-10.

Pamela J. Haney, MS, RHIA, CCS, CIC, COC, is an experienced educator and an AHIMA approved ICD-10 trainer with over thirty years experience as a Director of HIM and Coding Services. She was a beta tester for the AAPC CIC exam and one of the first to receive the CIC certification. She is a recipient of the 2013 AHIMA Triumph Award in the Mentor category. 

About the Author

Libman Education
Libman Education Inc. is a leading provider of training for the health care workforce offering self-paced and instructor-led online courses designed and developed by leading industry experts in Health Information Management (HIM) and Medical Record Coding. Our courses are specifically designed to improve individual skills and increase the efficiencies and competencies of health care providers and institutions. At Libman Education, we understand the needs and challenges of a well-trained workforce and offer the right-mix of online education to ensure that the health care professionals are prepared to meet the challenges of the changing workplace.

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