This past March, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a successful ICD-10 testing week. Testers submitted more than 127,000 claims with ICD-10 codes to the Medicare Fee-for-service (FFS) claims systems and received electronic acknowledgements confirming that their claims were accepted.
Approximately 2,600 participating providers, suppliers, billing companies and clearinghouses participated in the testing week, representing about five percent of all submitters. Clearinghouses, which submit claims on behalf of providers, were the largest group of testers, submitting 50 percent of all test claims. Other testers included large and small physician practices, small and large hospitals, labs, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis facilities, home health providers, and ambulance providers.
Nationally, CMS accepted 89 percent of the test claims, with some regions reporting acceptance rates as high as 99 percent. The normal FFS Medicare claims acceptance rates average 95-98 percent. Testing did not identify any issues with the Medicare FFS claims systems.
This testing week allowed an opportunity for testers and CMS alike to learn valuable lessons about ICD-10 claims processing. In many cases, testers intentionally included such errors in their claims to make sure that the claim would be rejected, a process often referred to as negative testing. To be processed correctly, all claims must have a valid diagnosis code that matches the date of service and a valid national provider identifier. Additionally, the claims using ICD-10 had to have an ICD-10 companion qualifier code and the claims using ICD-9 had to use the ICD-9 qualifier code. Claims that did not meet these requirements were rejected.
HHS expects to release an interim final rule in the near future that will include a new compliance date that would require the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015. The rule will also require HIPAA covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through September 30, 2015. Providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses are welcome to submit acknowledgement test claims anytime up to the anticipatedOctober 1, 2015 implementation date. Submitters should contact their local Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for more information about acknowledgment testing. However, those who submit claims may want to delay acknowledgement testing until after October 6, 2014, when Medicare updates its systems.
CMS will be conducting end-to-end testing in 2015. Details about this testing will be released soon.
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