Family physicians anxious to know if their practice is prepared for the transition to the 5010 transaction standards(www.CMS.gov) set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, soon will have five straight days to test their office systems.
According to CMS, National 5010 Testing Week(www.cms.gov), which is a follow-up to the national testing day held earlier this summer, will take place Aug. 22-26.
Physicians should be most concerned with the transfer of patient information, such as claims submissions and patient eligibility inquiries, said Cynthia Hughes, C.P.C., an AAFP coding and compliance specialist. Practices that aren't prepared for the change or that encounter unexpected problems after implementation of the 5010 standards, "likely will see delays in payment for services provided to all of their patients on or after Jan.1, 2012," said Hughes.
"Practices whose systems or clearinghouses are able to complete testing and go to production early should avoid such problems," she added.
The full week of testing is intended to give physicians and other health care providers, clearinghouses, Medicare contractors, and health information technology vendors ample time to assess and fix any problems they have sending or receiving electronically transmitted health information.
During testing week, participants will have the added benefit of real-time help desk support and immediate direct access to Medicare administrative contractors. In its testing week announcement, CMS noted that "successful testing is required before a trading partner may be placed into production."
The 5010 transaction standards were mandated by modifications to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Electronic Transaction Standards as outlined in the final rule published in the Jan. 16, 2009, Federal Register(edocket.access.gpo.gov).