ICD-10 testing with or without CMS

The ICD-10 compliance deadline is only seven months from now, and that means it’s time to stop procrastinating and start testing.

Such opportunities are starting to crop up, with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and otherwise.

For starters, CMS just conducted its week of limited testing, and the agency will hold end-to-end testing during the week of July 21-25 with a sample of 32 participants for each DME Medicare Administrative Contractor by April 14. Volunteers for the July program have until March 24 to apply.

If you are chosen to participate, “it will provide the real value by allowing you to see how the payer processes claims,” Josh Berman, director of business analytics and ICD-10 at McKesson's RelayHealth, told Medical Practice Insider. “When you’re testing with Medicare, you’re also testing your coders, and any practice charts you may prepare.”

But what of the providers who don’t get chosen to take part in the end-to-end testing program?

There are other things these practices can do to get ready, too, Berman noted, including the following:

  1. Find other providers who will test with you.
  2. Educate staff. Everyone from coders to physicians will need training to ensure you are sending good claims the first time.
  3. Make a contingency plan.  Be ready to submit both ICD-10s and ICD-9s on Oct. 1, 2014  — and beyond.  But start with testing and education.

And it should go without saying, Berman added, “get started now.”

Additionally, building a relationship with your regional MAC can also do wonders in getting set for the deadline. Typically a MAC representative is just a phone call away.

“Picking up the phone is sometimes the easiest way to connect, but don’t overlook the many resources they already offer — conference calls, web education, checklists, etc. CMS, for example, offers a variety of resources that are valuable to practices making the transition,” Berman said.

Open front-end testing is still available, wherein Common Electronic Data Interchange “CEDI Trading Partners and software vendors can submit test claims with ICD-10 codes at any time and receive back the 277CA transaction to verify their claims accept or reject as expected,” according to CMS. Outside of the national testing weeks, providers are not required to register in advance to be evaluated.

Questions about testing can be directed to the CEDI Help Desk at ngs.cedihelpdesk@wellpoint.com.