Medical Group Management Association President and CEO Susan L. Turney, MD, MS, FACMPE, FACP, wrote recently to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to protest the decision. The group is "extremely concerned with the Medicare announcement that it will not be conducting ICD-10 end-to-end testing with external trading partners, including physician practices," she wrote. "We strongly urge that you immediately reverse this policy and expedite Medicare ICD-10 end-to-end testing. This action would decrease the potential of a catastrophic back-log of Medicare claims following the Oct. 1, 2014 compliance date. Failure to do so could result in significant cash flow disruption for physicians and their practices, and serious access to care issues for Medicare patients."
Turney went on to say, "This deviation from the traditional Medicare testing policy and inconsistent messaging have sharply increased the apprehension that physician practices already feel regarding the implementation of ICD-10."
CMS officials have expressed surprise that anyone even expected ICD-10 to be tested with physicians before implementation, Tennant says. At the same time, however, CMS is requiring that state Medicaid agencies test the system with providers.
"The reason why this is important is that 5010 was a technical issue. If you had the right format for the claim, chances were you going to get paid," he explains. "With ICD-10, two types of testing are required. There's the technical question of whether you are able to insert the ICD-10 code on the claim. But then there's the question of whether they will pay the claim with that code."