"These problems are particularly troubling since cash-strapped physicians are burdened with meeting several other government requirements, including quality reporting, e-prescribing, meaningful use, and of course, ICD-10," Carmel adds.
Specifically, MGMA has called for an extension of the enforcement delay from March 1, 2012 to June 1, 2012. In a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, MGMA has recommended to instruct MACs (Medicare Administrative Contractors) to "immediately" provide advance payments for physician practices that are struggling to meet the Version 5010.
Moreover, HHS was asked to permit clearinghouses and health plans to accept and adjudicate Version 5010 claims that do not have all the required data content, and instruct the MACs to expeditiously adjudicate all outstanding claims.
Physician groups say that the government needs to take prompt action because physician practices may eventually face delayed revenue and operational difficulties, reduced ability to treat patients, or even the prospect of closing practices. MGMA officials have not specified any specific impacts from the situation.
The situation highlights the delicate balance of uncertainties between government mandates and private physician groups. It spotlights the issue of the fragile, and possibly tentative steps needed to enforce new deadlines. Physician groups also raise concerns about the moves toward ICD-10, considering that the magnitude of that mandate is even greater than Version 5010's reach.