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Pryor, Boozman Efforts Help Protect Arkansas Catfish Industry

New Generation of Diagnosis Codes

WASHINGTON –U.S. Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) work to protect the catfish industry from the dumping of foreign catfish on U.S. markets. Today the U.S. Department of Commerce says it will uphold a fair trade practice. The Department issued its decision that Vietnamese catfish will face fair antidumping duties when imported into the U.S.

“Today’s announcement is a win for Arkansas’s catfish industry,” Pryor said. “I’m pleased the Department of Commerce has listened to our urgings and will uphold our trade laws already on the books so our catfish farmers can stay competitive in today’s global economy.”

“This is a good step forward as we continue to make sure our catfish farmers are operating on a fair and level playing field,” Boozman said.

In a letter sent yesterday to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, a bipartisan group of Senators asked the Secretary to uphold a decision reached last summer that determined U.S. catfish producers have been harmed by unfairly-priced frozen fish fillets from Vietnam.

“We are writing to ask you to ensure that the Vietnam Frozen Fish Fillets antidumping proceeding is conducted consistent with the commitment of this Administration to vigorously enforce U.S. trade laws. Our borders are the most opened in the world, but free and open trade is only possible if we insist that this trade be fair.

Pryor, Boozman and Senators Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Roger Wicker (R-MS), David Vitter (R-LA) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA)  signed onto the letter than can be read here.

Pryor and Boozman also encouraged the Department of Commerce to enforce the antidumping orders against frozen fish fillets from Vietnam in this letter sent in February.

There’s a Code for That

Hospitals and physicians have to adopt a new generation of medical diagnosis codes that include codes for injuries sustained while crocheting, time spent in a deep-freeze refrigerator and even that “routine” injury that occurs during a spacecraft landing. These injuries sound far-fetched, but beginning in October, medical professionals will be forced to comply with this new coding system.

This may sound made-up. Unfortunately, it’s all too true. The Tenth Edition of the International Classification of Diseases, more commonly referred to as ICD-10, adds more than 120,000 codes filled with redundancies and unnecessary complexities. Health experts anticipate problems industry-wide because of the cost of the changeover, the time to learn the new system and the time taken away from patient-care as providers focus attention on coding.

As a former healthcare provider, I understand the impact of policies and mandates to this industry. That’s why I’m concerned about a new diagnosis coding system the healthcare community is forced to adopt. Our health care providers are already facing problems navigating Obamacare. This maze of new codes makes things more difficult and struggling with another mandate at this time will only make matters worse.

HHS rightfully postponed the enactment of ICD-10 by one year. However, I’m hoping we can make it a permanent postponement. This is why I joined with other doctors in the senate to introduce the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013, S. 972, which would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing ICD-10.

Survey results by Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) published in December 2013 indicate that the healthcare industry has not made the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition to ICD-10 and there has been limited testing of the new coding system.

The sponsors of the Cutting Costly Codes Act of 2013 recently sent a letter to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner questioning CMS’ scope of testing for the ICD-10 billing code system. Considering the failure in the launch of Healthcare.gov, we have a reason to worry and that is why we to test all aspects of the system.

We need a healthcare system that allows physicians to spend time serving patients. ICD-10 creates more paperwork and time away from the people they are supposed to help. This is crazy bureaucracy that does nothing to make patients healthy. I’ll continue fighting against this mandate.

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