The American Hospital Association is calling on Medicare and Medicaid contractors to begin end-to-end ICD-10 testing no later than January 2014.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has not yet committed to end-to-end testing and in a letter to Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum, AHA made clear that it must. “We appreciate the agency’s efforts to offer extensive educational opportunities for providers. However, extensive end-to-end testing by Medicare contractors and state Medicaid agencies of both the electronic transaction and the adjudication of the claim will be needed to ensure a smooth transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The American Hospital Association encourages the agency to make its testing plans known as quickly as possible so that hospitals and other health care providers can be confident that all parties will be ready on Oct. 1, 2014.”

End-to-end testing, AHA reminded CMS, is not only essential to a smooth transition but mandated under the Affordable Care Act. The association is pushing for testing to start by January because it believes all testing should be complete by the end of June to give providers, insurers and claims clearinghouses time to resolve problems found during testing and to complete training.

The AHA also is asking that small hospitals have the same opportunity to test with contractors as larger hospitals. “We are concerned that these providers will be overlooked because in previous testing, such as the transition to the 5010 version of the transaction standards, small providers were left out of the testing phase or relegated to being last on the testing schedule.”

Text of the AHA letter to CMS, which includes observations on how the association envisions the testing processes, is available here.

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