With the ICD-10 compliance deadline just a little more than a month away, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is putting in place a number of organizational structures that the agency hopes will help to successfully manage the transition after October 1.

Towards that end, CMS has established and is now staffing a new ICD-10 Coordination Center located in Baltimore, Md. During a “Countdown to ICD-10” Medicare Learning Network National Provider Call on Thursday, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said that the center “will begin operations at the end of September and be responsible for managing and triaging issues and ensuring timely communications with all of you and with me in how we’re doing.”

Also See: Crunch Time for ICD-10

Slavitt also announced on the call that William Rogers, M.D., a practicing emergency room physician and director of the Physicians Regulatory Issues Team at CMS, has been named the agency’s “official ICD-10 ombudsman” to investigate and address stakeholder complaints regarding the code switchover.

Rogers since 2003 has been an ombudsman for clinicians who care for Medicare and Medicaid patients, focusing on reducing the administrative burden imposed by these programs and making the Medicare program a better partner in providing care for Medicare beneficiaries.

Likewise, Rogers’ role as ICD-10 ombudsman will be to serve as a “one-stop shop for you with questions and concerns and to be your internal advocate inside CMS,” Slavitt declared. “If you take something away from this call—in addition to the imperative to be ready for October 1—it should be how to reach Dr. Roger’s ombudsman office.” He said that Rogers’ email address will be icd10_ombudsman@cms.hhs.gov.

Slavitt admitted that “as with anything of this magnitude, even with all the planning, there will be bumps and challenges” as the healthcare industry transitions to ICD-10. “The good news is even for medical practices that haven’t done much there is still time to prepare,” according to Slavitt.

He urged all stakeholders to take advantage of the “array” of CMS ICD-10 resources, guides, and tools, as well as acknowledgement testing that is available to Medicare submitters through September 30. “This testing will confirm whether you can successfully submit claims with ICD-10 codes to Medicare,” Slavitt said.

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