Republicans Question Whether Feds Are Ready For New Medical Codes

Germany uses them. France uses them. Canada uses them. But America? We may not be ready for them.

A new set of medical diagnosis codes — those series of numbers and letters that appear on insurance forms and doctor’s-office paperwork to signify everything from heart disease to athlete’s foot — are being used by many other countries.

But the U.S. is still stuck in the ’70s, with American healthcare workers relying on codes developed in 1979.

On Oct. 1, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is expected to implement the latest version, the 10th version, of the International Classification of Diseases. The American healthcare community is expected to follow whatever CMS does, as doctors will need the new codes for reimbursement for medical services for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

But Several Republican House lawmakers have pointedly questioned whether the federal government would be ready by this fall to implement the new codes. On their minds is the botched rollout of healthcare.gov.