News Feature | August 12, 2014

New Client Resource: CMS ICD-10 Testing Plan

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

CMS ICD-10 Testing Plan

If you ask your clients if they know they should be prepared for ICD-10, they’ll undoubtedly say “yes.” But chances are that if you ask them what they’re doing to get ready, you won’t hear much in terms of an actionable plan.

In light of CMS finalizing the ICD-10 deadline delay (extended to October 1, 2015), now is the time to get started introducing your clients to the idea of formal preparation for the coding system implementation deadline.

CMS’ Plan

In an effort to help providers prepare for the transition, CMS has outlined a “comprehensive four-pronged approach” to address to change from ICD-9 to ICD-10.

The plan will include:

  • Internal testing by CMS of its claims processing systems
  • Provider-initiated beta-testing tools
  • Acknowledgement testing
  • End-to-end testing

To complete the end-to-end testing efforts, CMS has announced that it will need approximately 2,550 providers to volunteer through three separate opportunities for testing. There are several goals for this initiative:

  • To determine that providers can successfully submit claims with the upgraded code system to the Medicare fee-for-service claims systems
  • To demonstrate that changes CMS has made in support of ICD-10 will translate to proper claim adjudication
  • To verify that accurate remittance advice is produced

Some of your clients may find it beneficial to volunteer and begin familiarity with the system ahead of time.

Reactions

Despite the announcement of the official deadline, the industry has still reacted with skepticism. Russell Branzell, president and CEO of the College Of Healthcare Information Management Executives, spoke with FierceHealthIT and reflected a wary attitude toward the program.

“Because we thought we were so close to the finish line, we let our guard down a little bit and it got wrangled into something it probably never should have been brought into. I think as we move on to this new deadline, we will keep our guard up and keep our advocacy actions in place to ensure that we don't do what we did last time. That cost a lot of people jobs and led to a lot of extra money and effort being spent.”

The AMA has also weighed in, calling the coding system overall “a massive underfunded mandate.”

Still, some remain hopeful, especially regarding CMS’ Road To ICD-10 program, a resource built with the help of small practice physicians, designed to help providers get an overview of the coding system, explore topics by specialty, and build personalized action plans to navigate the transition. 

Go Deeper

For more details on the specifics of ICD-10 and ways to help your clients prepare, read “ICD-10 Delays, ICD-11, And What Clients Want FromVARs.”

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