New ICD-10 testing results look promising for industry

April ICD-10 testing shows encouraging results

ICD-10 end-to-end testing is one of the strategies the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been using to help providers ensure that they are prepared for the transition to the ICD-10 coding system on Oct. 1. In the most recent testing, which took place at the end of April, the industry made it clear that it is continually progressing in terms of its preparedness for the switch. 

The results showed that the CMS will be able to successfully accept claims once the ICD-10 implementation deadline approaches. This is a major plus for the health professionals and organizations across the health care industry that have been pushing for the transition date to remain unthreatened by another delay.  

Industry may be more prepared for ICD-10 than expected
From April 27 to May 1, billing agencies, clearinghouses, Medicare Fee-For-Service health care providers and payers participated in the second successful end-to-end testing period. The CMS worked together with a large variety of submitters, claim types and providers during the April testing week. The Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Administrative Contractors, the Common Electronic Data Interchange contractors and Medicare Administrative Contractors helped individual entities during the end-to-end testing. 

The CMS recently posted the results of the testing, revealing that of the 875 participants, over 23,000 test claims were submitted during the testing week. Overall, the health professionals were able to successfully submit 88 percent of ICD-10 claims. The Medicare billing system was also able to process each claim without facing any significant issues. These figures and acceptance rates were higher than the previous testing in January.

The report also highlights the fact that there were fewer errors in regard to mistakes made with diagnostic codes, which was a problem in the January testing. Although the results did show a few errors, the major ones were unrelated to ICD-9 or ICD-10 diagnosis codes.

"With four months remaining to correct issues discovered during testing, the high rate of successful submission of ICD-10 codes is especially encouraging for physician offices since half the claims submitted for end-to-testing were professional claims," said officials from the ICD-10 Coalition in a recent statement. "These results indicate that significant progress has been made since the January end-to-end testing with the overall rejection rate dropping from 19 to 12 percent and ICD-10 rejections dropping from 3 to 2 percent."

Opportunities to prepare
The April end-to-end testing was not the last opportunity for providers to participate in ICD-10 testing. The CMS is promoting the final chance to join the final testing from July 20 to July 24. There are also opportunities to partake in acknowledgement testing any time until the October deadline. Health professionals who participated in the January or April testing are able to partake in the upcoming July ICD-10 testing session. They will automatically be eligible to test their preparedness again.

If providers are not ready for the transition to the new and complex coding system by the implementation deadline, their Medicare claims that do not use ICD-10 codes will be considered invalid. Medicare claims systems will be unable to interpret ICD-9 codes or dual coding once the formal transition occurs. Sept. 30, 2015, will be the last date that providers can submit ICD-9 codes to the CMS. 

As there are less than four months left before the ICD-10 deadline in the fall, more providers are starting to rely on the resources offered by the CMS, knowing very well that being unprepared has the potential to cause major setbacks. One helpful tool is the Road to 10 website, which offers a guide on the most effective methods for preparing for the major transition. However, this is only one of the many resources for providers who find the preparation process difficult.