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CMS Tries To Allay Significant Concerns About ICD-10 Transition

MARIETTA, GA – This year, the most frightening day of the year may come almost a month before Halloween. Or at least that may be the case for some medical practices.

In a recent survey from the medical software company NueMD, 31% of the 1,000 medical practices responding said they were not at all confident they would be prepared for the changeover to ICD-10 by Oct. 1, 2015.

More than half, 53%, said they were either significantly or highly concerned about any potential impact from the transition.

To help smooth process, CMS offered some information to providers, identifying common misperceptions about the transition to ICD-10:

  • All 68,000 codes that ICD-10 offers will not be used by your practice, any more than you currently use all of the ICD-9 codes.
  • The process for looking up ICD-10 will be similar to ICD-9, using an alphabetic index and electronic tools.
  • Outpatient and office procedure codes aren’t changing; your practice will still use CPT.
  • Testing will be available for all Medicare fee-for-service providers and, during a special “acknowledgement testing” week to be held in June 2015, you will have access to real-time help desk support.

So, what if you can’t submit ICD-10 claims electronically due to problems with the provider’s system? CMS offers free billing software that can be downloaded at any time from every Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC).

In addition, in about half of the MAC jurisdictions, Part B claims submission functionality is on the MAC’s provider Internet portal. If worst comes to worst, your practice can submit paper claims, if the Administrative Simplification Compliance Act waiver provisions are met.

CMS also cites several studies suggesting that the cost of transition could be substantially lower than earlier projections, pointing out that “many EHR vendors are including ICD-10 in their systems or upgrades – at little or no cost to their customers. As a result, software and systems costs for ICD-10 could be minimal for many providers.”