AAPC poll shows majority of providers satisfied with testing process

The American Academy of Professional Coders recently released a poll that showed most of the providers who participated in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' ICD-10 acknowledgment testing in November 2014 found the process to be successful. 

Poll shows satisfaction with testing process
The CMS tested more than 13,000 claims from over 500 providers during the November testing week. An average of 76 percent of these claims were accepted. Of the participating providers, the results of the poll showed that 84 percent of them were satisfied with the process overall. Meanwhile, 90 percent reported that they saw payment shifts in their test claims and 72 percent had none of their claims denied during testing. An additional 16 percent of respondents noted that only 10 percent of their claims were rejected.

To test each claim's accuracy the CMS ensured that the various aspects were included, such as a valid diagnosis code. Many providers also submitted their claims with errors for negative testing, while others chose to conduct tests with private payers. According to EHR Intelligence, this may signify that the health care industry is finally taking the preparation process seriously, progressing through the complex transition stages. 

"To ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10, CMS verified all test claims had a valid diagnosis code that matched the date of service, a National Provider Identifier that was valid for the submitter ID used for testing, and an ICD-10 companion qualifier code to allow for processing of claims," the CMS said after releasing the results of the testing last December. "In many cases, testers intentionally included errors in their claims to make sure that the claim would be rejected, a process often referred to as 'negative testing.'"

For all of the providers who have put the effort into preparing for the ICD-10 deadline – swiftly approaching on Oct. 1, 2015 – and end-to-end testing scheduled for the end of April, this sense that the majority of physicians expect that their claims will be accepted brings assurance and relief to many.

AAPC urges providers to prepare
The results of the AAPC poll were significant, as they shed important light on one of the first steps to ready an organization to successfully adopt ICD-10. Most providers need all of the insight into properly preparing for the major change that they can get, as the process has proved overwhelming for many practices, leaving many reluctant to start.  

Most of the providers who participated in the poll fail to see the high cost predicted by the American Medical Association. Almost 75 percent of these physicians have spent under $5,000 for their ICD-10 preparation activities. Only 2 percent of respondents either spent over $10,000 for the upgrades and system alterations required for the transition, or have spent nothing. 

"If you haven't performed acknowledgement testing with all your important payers, don't wait for them to contact you," the AAPC urged. The organization suggested reaching out to payers to find out if acknowledgement testing is an option. It is crucial that providers are participating in the process to learn from the testing. This will get practices ready for a smooth transition, ensuring that they are aware of any issues they may face in October.

End-to-end testing is necessary if providers want a clear and accurate idea of how their claims will be judged – acknowledgement testing will confirm that Medicare is able to approve identified claims, but it is not able to offer remittance advice. It also plays an important role in assisting coders in determining whether they must enhance their selections. As October quickly edges closer, the AAPC advises that physicians communicate with their payers, prepare for possible delayed or denied claims after the ICD-10 start date and put their energy and effort into properly training and educating their practices.