CMS: No external ICD-10 testing

Despite providers' continued struggles with ICD-10 implementation, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not conduct any extra external testing, via Medicare administrative contractors, with business partners like hospitals and payers.

Instead, according to EHR Intelligence, CMS will continue with its quarterly tests, and also plans to conduct internal testing of its own systems to assess ICD-10 readiness.

Cathy Carter, director of the business application management group for CMS' Office of Information Services, said this week that there was never any plan to test health providers "all the way through," addressing questions raised by a CMS announcement released late last month. What's more, she called the process currently in place "rigorous" and "sufficient," adding that there's no money or time to do anything else.

Meanwhile, at the American Medical Association's annual meeting this week, the group's house of delegates agreed to lobby Congress and CMS for, essentially, a two-year buffer zone for physicians to ensure accurate implementation following the October 2014 deadline, MedPage Today reports. Health insurers, according to a resolution voted on by the house of delegates, would not be able to use physician coding errors as a reason for denying reimbursement dollars.

AMA, in the past, had discussed the ramifications associated with skipping ICD-10 altogether in favor of ICD-11 adoption down the line, but ultimately decided against support for such a plan, calling it "fraught with its own pitfalls."

A recent study published by the Medical Group Management Association determined that only 4.8 percent of more than 1,200 medical groups have made "significant" progress in their ICD-10 implementation efforts.

"A successful transition to ICD-10 requires coordination between providers and their vendor, clearinghouse and health plan trading partners," MGMA President Susan Turney, M.D. said in a statement. "Our data suggests that many practices are in the dark in terms of moving forward with ICD-10 as this coordination has not yet occurred."

To learn more:
- read the EHR Intelligence post
- here's the CMS update
- check out the MedPage Today article