Want to feel more relaxed about ICD-10? Test.

HIMSS | October 21, 2014

Remember the ICD-10 extension? Guess what? The new deadline is already less than a year away. If that little fact makes you feel a bit anxious (or a lot anxious!), it doesn’t have to. Conducting end-to-end ICD-10 testing as soon as possible doesn’t have to scare you, either. In fact, a lot of people are actually recommending testing as a remedy for ICD-10 anxiety, based on their own recent experiences.

When ZirMed conducted end-to-end testing with multiple payers on behalf of a wide range of provider organizations recently, the results—in terms of how successfully providers and payers were able to submit and process ICD-10-coded claims—were encouraging.

Healthcare organizations and practices often did better than they expected. In testing, they typically received 835s back from payers, and when they submitted professional claims based on actual, paid ICD-9-coded claims—but coded in ICD-10 for testing purposes—the differences between the two remits weren’t overwhelming. While the differences that did exist could affect their reimbursements significantly, these provider organizations now know where to focus their energies and attention in the remaining months to ensure that they’re ready when go-live hits.

Of course, your results may vary—that’s why you need to test, too, so you can identify where you’re ready and where to focus your efforts in the months ahead.

But one big takeaway may be the most reassuring. As one manager from a community health system said, “After end-to-end testing, we had increasing confidence for a successful transition. We’re more confident in our coders’ ability to select the right codes, and we’re more confident that our systems will work with ICD-10.”

To see those benefits, of course, you’ll have to conduct your own end-to-end testing. Fortunately, over half of all payers have started external testing, and they’re just as enthusiastic about the results so far—though they say that not enough provider organizations are taking advantage of the opportunities.

“The most important message to send to physicians and providers is to get engaged now,” says one payer. “Talk to your health plans and see how you can start testing with them. If a health plan is not ready, then simply call another—but don’t hesitate. The sooner you get engaged, the better off you’ll be.”

Testing sooner rather than later is important for another reason, too. If you wait too long, you may find yourself competing with ever-larger numbers of other procrastinating providers for what may be a limited number of available testing slots.

The right time to get started is now. Once you’ve jumped into testing, you’re likely to find—as other providers have—that it’s much less intimidating than you’d feared. And you may find that you emerge with a new sense of confidence that yes, your organization can successfully navigate the ICD-10 transition. Visit the HIMSS ICD-10 PlayBook for tips on navigating this transition.

Ms. Gomez brings more than 23 years of healthcare industry experience to her role at ZirMed where she leads the company’s regulatory strategy efforts, presently focusing on ICD-10 readiness initiatives and supporting solutions and helping clients prepare for ICD-10.

Want to feel more relaxed about ICD-10? Test.

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