Weekend update

As noted in Friday’s post, Congress will be focused this week on passing an omnibus appropriations bill as required by the current continuing resolution (H. J. Res. 59). The Hill’s Floor Action blog elaborates here.

The FEHBlog was not terribly surprised to learn from EHR Intelligenence that that the American Medical Association has not give up on its belated fight against the implementation of the ICD-10 code set scheduled for October 1, 2014, under HIPAA.  HIPAA was enacted to facilitate electronic claims transactions and the current ICD-9 does the job well. However, this is what you get when technology standards are set in law. The AMA likely will be able to convince the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to continue to accept ICD-9 coded claims for Medicare payment for a few months after this compliance date but that’s the most the FEHBlog expects will come of this campaign.

Speaking of technology, the FEHBlog ran across this genomeweb.com article about developments in next generation / lower cost DNA sequencing in 2013.  This technology permits rapid genomic comparisons for the purpose of identifying genetic defects that may cause cancer, for example. It turns out that the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Illumina’s next generation sequencing technology last year. Illumina has licensed the technology to the big time laboratory services vendor Quest Diagnostics. The genomeweb.com article explains the Blue Cross, Aetna, and United Healthcare have established policies for covering the technology in certain circumstance.

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