Friday, March 16, 2012

Regulatory Train Wreck

In early 2009 (following up work by the Bush administration) DHHS decreed that all providers would convert from ICD-9* coding to ICD-10* coding by October 1, 2013,

Most medical billing requires both an ICD code (disease or condition) and a CPT code (treatments given).

This conversion was to take place at the same time as PPACA (Obamacare), a multitude of quality reporting initiatives, audit programs and a major push for electronic health records. This avalanche was especially difficult for physician practices

Vast resources were expended for technology, planning and process management, extensive training programs were being developed, and then....

DHHS came to its senses and has indefinitely deferred the conversion. Ghastly poor judgment by the technocrats. Poor judgment has costs and consequences.

* International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Editions 9 and 10, usually known as ICD-9 and ICD-10. The conversion would have increased the number of reportable codes by about 500%, required reprogramming of an immense number of IT systems, and massive training initiatives.

Irony Alert

The Obama administration has issued administrative regulations requiring health insurance companies to provide "plain English" explanations of health insurance coverages.

The regs, issued by the IRS and the DOL, are 150 pages of barely readable bureaucratic gibberish.

This continues a trend of the administration writing long and complex administrative regulations. Lawyers are celebrating.