Health Information Management

Finding the silver lining in the ICD-10 implementation guessing game

APCs Insider, August 15, 2014

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By Steven Andrews, Editor
 
Congress' decision this spring to delay ICD-10 for at least a year has certainly added to the cost and administrative headaches associated with implementation, but it could prove to have some advantages, as well.
 
CMS insisted October 1, 2014, would absolutely be the final ICD-10 implementation date—and most likely believed that to be the case—before Congress surprisingly introduced a delay in an unrelated bill. But providers still had to be concerned about making the switch to ICD-10, with only one round of end-to-end testing scheduled by CMS. The testing was schedule for July 2014, likely too late for providers to make major changes if problems were discovered.
 
As a result of the delay, CMS will be performing much more robust testing. Soon after the release of the final rule announcing October 1, 2015, as the new implementation date, CMS announced plans for several rounds of both acknowledgement and end-to-end testing.
 
CMS already performed a successful round of acknowledgement testing in March, but the planned end-to-end testing never occurred due to the delay. Now, CMS has announced additional acknowledgement testing weeks in November 2014 and March and June 2015.
 
The testing will give submitters access to real-time support and will allow CMS to analyze test data. Registration is not required to participate, but providers should contact their Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) for more information. 
 
CMS is also planning three end-to-end testing periods in January, April, and July 2015. Approximately 2,500 volunteer organizations will be able to submit claims to Medicare and receive feedback from CMS, including Remittance Advices. More information on end-to-end will be released soon, according to CMS.
CMS' originally planned single end-to-end testing effort was expected to include approximately 500 participants. Now, many more providers will have a chance to participate and have more time to make any necessary changes before October 1, 2015. The delay also gives additional time for coders and providers to train on ICD-10 coding and documentation requirements before testing.
 
It may not be much of a silver lining, but the delay will mean that providers, and CMS, are simply more prepared than they would have been if implementation was only six weeks away. If the industry treats this new date as a real deadline, instead of holding out hope for another delay, many of the expected productivity declines and technical concerns can be ameliorated. 
 
How confident are you that ICD-10 will be implemented October 1, 2015?
 
  • I'm certain ICD-10 will be implemented October 1, 2015
  • I'm fairly confident
  • I'm somewhat confident
  • I think ICD-10 will be delayed again
 
Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to vote.



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