Providers may want to take advantage of upcoming ICD-10 testing week

Providers who are concerned about whether they will be ready to make the move to the ICD-10 coding system in October 2014 may want to keep some time open in their schedules between March 3 and March 7, 2014. During this time, they will be able to conduct ICD-10 testing with the help of their local Medicare Administrative Contractors. This short period of time will not be enough for providers to ensure that they are totally prepared for this change, but it will give them a chance to get ahead of the game before October. 

Recently, EHRIntelligence explained what providers need to do if they are interested in taking advantage of this program through their local MACs. For example, the news source explained that every MAC has been mandated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make their testing week activities public through emails and listservs. Providers who are interested in registering should go to their local MAC website to sign up. To move forward with testing, providers will need coded ICD-10 test Medicare claims that have dates of services between Oct.1, 2013, and March 3, 2014.

Who should participate in this testing?
Providers need to already be sure that the systems in their practices will be able to accept and transmit the ICD-10 codes. This is because this test will not be able to get hardware or software ready for ICD-10. This testing will likely be most helpful for providers who have already been moving toward ICD-10 compliance. The news source explained that providers can reach out to ICD-10 consultants or clinical documentation improvement managers who can help them determine if this testing process is something that could be right for them.

The news source explained that providers who cannot participate in this program because they are not ready should start getting prepared. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has stated that it may give another opportunity for testing before October, there is no guarantee that this will occur. 

How to submit claims
The news source explained that test claims will be put through the Common Edits and Enhancements Module or Common Electronic Data Interchange. Providers who are concerned that they will not be able to get through to their MACs because of high demand should know that the CMS is asking all MACs to have additional hands available to help with all the claims, but providers may be in for a bit of a wait if they run into any issues. 

More on preparing for ICD-10
Health Data Management reported that while the ICD-10 program may be lagging behind, health care professionals should have been ready for this switch. The news source explained that the medical industry has had years of warning about this impending change. However, results from a survey conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange shows that while providers and vendors should now be at a point where they are simply putting the finishing touches on an ICD-10 testing plan, that is not the case. For example, the results showed that one-fifth of vendors are only halfway or less than halfway done with developing ICD-10 products. Furthermore, only half of providers have done full initial assessments. 

"It is clear the industry continues to make slow progress, but not the amount of progress that is needed for a smooth transition," said WEDI Chairman Jim Daley in his cover letter to the CDC about the survey, which was released in December 2013. 

Robert Tennant, senior policy advisor with the Medical Group Management Association, explained that providers should consider questioning vendors directly on what their ICD-10 plan is, if they have not done so already.