By a vote of 64 to 35, the U.S. Senate on March 31, 2014 approved legislation that includes a provision to delay the ICD-10 implementation deadline by one year to Oct. 1, 2015. The bill will be sent to President Obama for his expected signature.
The so-called “Doc-Fix” bill also suspends Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that would have cut the physician reimbursement rate this year by nearly 24 percent. Congress had the opportunity to pass the legislation that averts the payment cut and further delays Medicare cuts to physicians until April 1, 2015. In addition, the bill further delays enforcement of the Medicare two-midnight payment policy for hospitals until March 2015.
The Senate conducted a straight “up or down” roll call vote on the bill, which prevented senators from removing any sections of the bill, including the ICD-10 delay provision. Previously, in a March 27 voice vote, the House of Representatives approved the fast-track legislation that was based on a bipartisan deal struck between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.