Monday, April 09, 2012


The FEHBlog never ceases to marvel at how HHS can keep its sunny side up. HHS trumpeted today the news that a newly proposed unique national health plan identifier number will save $4.6 billion over the next ten years. While the HHS press release credits the Affordable Care Act for this innovation, in fact this identifier was required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) over 15 years ago in 1996.  In the FEHBlog's view it was a colossal error to consign technology changes to law as HIPAA did.

The anticipated compliance date for this new proposed rule (unless of course the American Medical Association complains (FEHBlog joke) is October 1, 2014 according to the HHS fact sheet. The proposed rule also will create an identifier for healthcare claims clearinghouses and third party administrators and fix a problem with the national healthcare provider identifier.

HHS also announced its proposal for one year delay in the ICD-10 compliance date for all covered entities. The FEHBlog misread the HHS tea leaves to expect a delay only for small medical practices. The newly proposed compliance date also would be October 1, 2014. The FEHBlog cannot yet find any reaction from the AMA which had clamored for a delay. However, Government Health IT reports the stunning fact that according to "the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of this proposed rule, HHS  acknowledged that “a 1-year delay of the ICD-10 compliance date * * * would add 10 to 30 percent to the total cost that these entities [read that as meaning health plans] have already spent or budgeted for the transition."

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