Yesterday, March 31, 2014, the US Senate voted to approve H.R. 4302 the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014. This bill creates a temporary 12 month “fix” to the Medicare Sustainable Growth rate (SGR) The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) was created in 1997 by Congress. It is a system that determines the amount of money that will be budgeted for Medicare payments based on a projected growth of the economy. Within a few years, however the costs for healthcare far outweighed the economic projected growth. The result? A huge deficit in funding for Medicare reimbursements.
Beginning in 2003, Congress has approved “doc fix” bills that appropriate more money in Medicare funding so that Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors won’t be cut. Why is this so important to small independent practices? The “doc fix” delayed a scheduled 24% cut to Medicare physician reimbursement rates effective April 1St. Although the “doc fix” is temporary, details of the SGR patch also included the delay of the deadline to implement the new ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure code sets by one year, to October 1, 2015.
What does this mean for thousands that have prepared for ICD-10? AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA said, “On behalf of our more than 72,000 members who have prepared for ICD-10 in good faith, AHIMA will seek immediate clarification on a number of technical issues such as the exact length of the delay,” She continued, “AHIMA will continue our work with various public sector organizations and agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and the National Center for Health Statistics, along with our industry partners such as theICD-10 Coalitionso that ICD-10 will realize its full potential to improve patient care and reduce costs. These are goals that AHIMA and other healthcare stakeholders and our government leaders all share.”
Other Important April Health Industry Deadlines For Your Practice
April 1, 2014: New CMS 1500 02/12 Form
All Paper Claims must be on the new CMS Billing Form. Is Your Billing Software Compatible? (Medisoft 19 is the only Medisoft compatible version)
April 8, 2014: Windows XP No Longer HIPAA Compliant
Microsoft will not longer provider security patches for Windows XP. Using a noncompliant Operating system will effect all of the data on your computer system and make it noncompliant. It will also open the door to viruses, spam, malware and hackers. Contact Microsoft to update your system.
Precision Is Committed To Help You Create & Sustain The Financial Viability of Your Practice
We at Precision Healthcare Consultants understand that small practices have many regulatory and operational issues to navigate and we are here to help you. Our certified and credentialed professionals have helped thousands of small practices across the nation prepare for government deadlines, ICD-10 documentation, coding, billing compliance thus becoming more profitable, and improve patient care! If you are not prepared for any of these deadlines and need help with compliance, billing and/or documentation review, contact us.