Medical Billing and Coding Healthcare Blog

During the week of July 20-24, a final sample group of providers will have the opportunity to participate in ICD-10 end-to-end testing with Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) and the common electronic data interchange (CEDI) contractor.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is accepting additional July volunteers from through May 22.

CMS indicates that approximately 850 volunteer submitters will be selected to participate in the final end-to-end testing. Note: Testers who are participating in the January and April end-to-end testing weeks are able to test again in July without re-applying.

As opposed to acknowledgement testing, where testers submitted claims with ICD-10 codes to the Medicare fee-for-service claims systems and receive acknowledgements to confirm that their claims were accepted or rejected, end-to-end testing takes that a step further, processing claims through all Medicare system edits to produce and return an accurate Electronic Remittance Advice. While acknowledgement testing is open to all electronic submitters, end-to-end testing is limited to a smaller sample of submitters who volunteer and are selected for testing.

Here is what you need to know to volunteer as a testing submitter:

  • Volunteer forms are available on your MAC website
  • Completed volunteer forms are due May 22
  • CMS will review applications and select additional July testers
  • The MACs and CEDI will notify the volunteers selected to test and provide them with the information needed for the testing by June 12

If selected, testers must be able to:

  • Submit future-dated claims.
  • Provide valid national provider identifiers, provider transaction access numbers and beneficiary health insurance claim numbers that will be used for test claims. This information will be needed by your MAC for set-up purposes by the deadline on your acceptance notice; testers will be dropped if information is not provided by the deadline.

Any issues identified during testing will be addressed prior to ICD-10 implementation. Educational materials will be developed for providers and submitters based on the testing results.

Looking for resources to help with your organization's preparation for the transition to ICD-10 prior to its October 1, 2015, implementation date? Here are a few to help you out:

The conversion to ICD-10 is less than five months away. With the start date for ICD-10 set for Oct. 1, 2015, it is imperative for coding professionals using ICD-9 to begin practicing the new ICD-10 coding conventions.

There are approximately 68,000 ICD-10 codes, compared to 14,000 ICD-9 codes. The good news is that approximately 78% of ICD-9 codes map "one-to-one" with an ICD-10 code, according to the American Health Information Management Association. But this doesn't necessarily mean that converting from ICD-9 to ICD-10 will be easy, making practice essential. If coders do not practice using ICD-10, they are more likely to struggle to properly code when the October 1 deadline arrives.

Fortunately, there are a number of resources available to help coders learn how to apply ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codes correctly.

PGM's free ICD-9 to ICD-10 conversion tool allows users to easily convert ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes and vice versa by selecting the ICD conversion type followed by a user defined code.

There are also numerous, free ICD-10 practice quizzes online.

HCPro's JustCoding has developed an archive of challenging quizzes that focus on specific coding topics, including many on ICD-10. They include the following:

The Advance Healthcare Network has its own set of ICD-10 practice tests to help you prepare for the transition. Access them by clicking here.

Finally, 3M published an eGuide of its three most-viewed ICD-10 coding scenarios, which can be found by clicking here. You can view archives of 3M ICD-10 coding challenges by clicking here.