Oct. 1 is the deadline for physicians nationwide to adopt the ICD-10-CM code sets for outpatient diagnostic coding. To help physicians and their billing staff prepare for implementation, CMS will conduct five days of limited front-end ICD-10 testing from March 3-7.
Information about the testing is available in a recent issue of the CMS publication MLN Matters(www.cms.gov).
During the testing week, physicians can submit claims using ICD-10 codes for services rendered between Oct. 1, 2013, and March 3 to determine if their Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) can receive such claims and to ascertain if the claims are accepted or rejected. Physicians who participate in the testing period will receive electronic acknowledgement confirming the status of the test claims they submitted.
According to CMS, physician practices that wish to participate must register for the testing event with their local MACs, who will announce and actively promote the testing week via electronic messages and website announcements.
The agency also notes that MACs will make real-time help desk support available from -- at a minimum -- 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. local contractor time during the testing period to handle an anticipated increase in phone call volume.
"The ICD-10 testing week has been created to generate awareness and interest, and to instill confidence in the provider community that CMS and the MACs are ready and prepared for the ICD-10 implementation," said the agency in its announcement.
To that end, CMS has instructed MACs to report, no later than March 18, a number of testing outcomes, including
- the number of trading partners who participated in the testing week,
- the percentages of test claims accepted and rejected, and
- any significant issues that hindered handling of test claims.
For its part, the AAFP understands the burden that implementation of ICD-10 imposes on family physicians. To help members prepare, the Academy has created resources including a list of frequently asked questions and answers about the switch to ICD-10 and a set of ICD-9 to ICD-10 Referential Flash Cards that cover the top 823 primary care diagnoses.
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Free Webinar Aims to Help Physicians Transition to ICD-10
More From AAFP
Family Practice Management: "Getting Ready for ICD-10: How It Will Affect Your Documentation"
Family Practice Management: "From the Editor: ICD-10: What's the Point?"
CMS: About ICD-10(www.cms.gov)