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  • Final Rule Postpones ICD-10 Implementation Until 2014

    In a rule issued today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made final a 1-year proposed delay—from October 1, 2013, to October 1, 2014—in the compliance date for use of ICD-10 codes.

    The rule adopting ICD-10 as a standard was published in January 2009 and set a compliance date of October 1, 2013—a delay of 2 years from the compliance date initially specified in the 2008 proposed rule. In February, HHS announced it would postpone the 2013 deadline in an effort to address the provider community's concerns about administrative burdens. In April, HHS proposed the transition be delayed until October 2014.  

    Today's final rule also establishes the standard for a national unique health plan identifier and a data element that will serve as an "other entity" identifier. This is an identifier for entities that are not health plans, health care providers, or individuals, but that need to be identified in standard transactions. The rule also specifies the circumstances under which an organization-covered health care provider, such as a hospital, must require certain noncovered individual health care providers who are prescribers to obtain and disclose a National Provider Identifier.

    APTA's ICD-10 webpage has resources to help physical therapists understand the transition to the new code set.

    Final Rules on EHR Meaningful Use Incentive Program and HIT Standards Released

    Yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services released final rules related to electronic health records (EHR) and health information technology (HIT). While at this time physical therapists are not directly affected by the rules related to meaningful use under Medicare and Medicaid, they should remain aware of issues relating to HIT technology, particularly in this dynamic health care delivery environment.

    The final rule on Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Electronic Health Record Incentive Program—Stage 2 specifies the necessary criteria eligible professionals (EP) and eligible hospitals (including critical access hospitals) must meet to receive incentive payments for achieving Stage 2 meaningful use requirements with their certified EHR systems. The rule also specifies payment adjustments for entities and providers that do not meet meaningful use requirements and other program requirements. Physical therapists are not yet defined as eligible professionals for demonstrating meaningful use and, therefore, are not subject to these payment adjustments for failing to demonstrate meaningful use. Certain criteria previously specified in regulations have also been revised, including certain Stage 1 criteria, such as allowing "states the option for their providers to calculate total Medicaid encounters or total needy individual patient encounters in any representative, continuous 90-day period in the 12 months preceding the EP or eligible hospital's attestation" for those participants in the Medicaid Incentive Program.

    The second rule relating to EHR certification criteria identifies the implementation specifications and other technical standards that EPs' and hospitals' EHR systems must meet to be deemed certified for supporting meaningful use requirements. These systems must be capable of meeting these standards and specifications, at a minimum, by fiscal and calendar year 2014 to be able to support eligible entities in achieving their meaningful use requirements. Additionally, the rule revises the HIT permanent certification and changes the name to the ONC HIT Certification Program. This final rule is titled Health Information Technology: Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology, 2014 Edition; Revisions to the Permanent Certification Program for Health Information Technology.   

    APTA will post summaries of both rules on the APTA website at a later date.

    While physicians and hospitals are the beneficiaries of many of the federal government's initial efforts to encourage EHR system adoption, they will expect the other providers they work with, including physical therapists, to implement it as well. Patients also may begin to expect their providers to use EHRs to manage their care. Visit APTA's HIT webpage for resources and updates on HIT program development and legislation, as well as APTA's related advocacy efforts.

    ABPTRFE Approves APTA Education Leadership Institute Fellowship Program

    The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) recently approved the APTA Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship as the first nonclinical credentialed postprofessional fellowship program. Official commencement of this prestigious credential begins August 31and will continue for a period of 5 years. The 2012 inaugural graduating class from the Education Leadership Institute will receive the designation of Fellow of the APTA Education Leadership Institute. The Education Leadership Institute will be recognized by ABPTRFE as a credentialed fellowship at APTA's 2013 Combined Sections Meeting in San Diego.

    Applications for the class of 2013-2014 will be available on APTA's website on October 1, with the submission deadline on January 4, 2013, at 5 pm ET.