CMS offers last ICD-10 testing opportunity

Many providers and hospitals are anxious about the approaching ICD-10 deadline. Training and preparation for the new codes have been a priority for a large number of doctors and their staff across the country over the past few months. ICD-10 testing is an important method for physicians to ensure that they are ready for a smooth transition to the ICD-10 coding system on Oct. 1, 2015.

CMS offers final ICD-10 testing session
To provide practices and hospitals with another opportunity to prepare for Oct. 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently announced an additional ICD-10 end-to-end testing to take place in July. This will be the final chance for physicians to get ready for the ICD-10 transition.

With their Medicare Administrative Contractors and a Common Electronic Data Interchange contractor, a group of physicians will have the opportunity to partake in the final CMS ICD-10 end-to-end testing. The testing days will be held between July 20-24. Interested providers are encouraged to apply, as the CMS is currently accepting participants.

Volunteers for the testing are asked to submit their application between May 11-22. The CMS is expecting a large number of applicants, as this is the last chance for physicians throughout the health care industry to ensure that they are prepared for the set of new ICD-10 codes. According to the CMS, there is enough space in the last test for approximately 850 volunteers. Providers who have already participated in previous testing sessions in either January or April do not have to reapply for the July session.

As the ICD-10 deadline is not too far in the future, the last testing will be a good indicator of the entire health care sector's readiness for the switch to the new coding systems. To make sure that the testing results in an adequate representation of the health care sector's preparedness, the CMS will choose participants in a broad range of practices, submitter types and claims clearinghouses. Volunteers can apply through the Medicare Administrative Contractors website on or before May 22 when the application deadline closes. 

ICD-10 testing helps providers avoid future issues
The CMS will choose more volunteers at the end of the application review process if it still needs to fill additional spots for the final testing session. Selected providers should expect to hear back by June 12 at the latest. Physicians partaking in the session will have to have beneficiary Health Insurance Claim Numbers, National Provider Identifiers, Provider Transaction Access Numbers and submit future claims. These identifiers will be used to submit test claims.

Documentation showing the information that selected providers will need in order for MACs to set up registration will be provided as soon as the selection process is over. MACs will require specific key information by a deadline that will be made clear in each provider's acceptance note. If physicians fail to submit this data by the deadline, they will not be allowed to partake in the final testing session. 

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange recently took a survey of the nation's ICD-10 readiness. The survey was meant to underscore how important it is that providers across the health care sector are ready for the switch from ICD-9 codes to ICD-10. 

"Unless all industry segments take the initiative to make a dedicated effort and move forward with their implementation work, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015," Devin Jopp, CEO of WEDI, stated in the survey, according to EHR Intelligence. 

Providers should act now and work to avoid potentially significant issues during the ICD-10 implementation. The end-to-end testing is an effective way to prevent such problems and should be taken advantage of by physicians who have yet to partake in a session.