Y2K test reveals serious flaws in physician systems

If you’re waiting until the last minute to submit test claims with Y2K dates to your Medicare claims-processing contractors, be advised: Results from a test by one HCFA contractor suggest that these test claims have a good possibility of failing, according to a report from the Englewood, CO-based Medical Group Management Association.

About 900 of the 7500 providers who submit electronic claims to Medicare contractor Nationwide use a courtesy claims software package called MITCH, which Nationwide provides. The MITCH software is in the national standard format (NSF) and is Y2K-compliant.

But in a recent test of 501 files submitted using MITCH, 107 files failed to process initially (21%). Although most of the failures were chalked up to improper submission procedures, about 3% reflected a more serious problem. In those cases, providers sent in claims with dates of service in 1900, 1901, etc., when the dates should have reflected 2000, 2001, etc. Since the MITCH software relies on a system-generated date, Nationwide concluded that the hardware and/or operating system of the PCs being used by these providers were not compliant. Thus, these providers were unable to generate dates later than 12/31/1999.