There are 216 days left until the ICD-10 compliance deadline--October 1--and that date is not flexible, officials from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services stated to an audience at HIMSS14. 

"The message that we want you to take back with you is that ICD-10 will go forward," said Denesecia Green, lead for the enterprise e-health operations and governance administrative simplification group in the CMS Office of E-Health Standards and Services. "What we need to do as a health care industry--payers, clearinghouses, vendors, and the like--is to really come together around this initiative. If we can come together, we can make this successful and also reap the benefits of ICD-10." At a CMS Town Hall session earlier in the week, Robert Tagalicod, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services, emphatically stated that the October 1 ICD-10 date "is a firm one."

Green said that ICD-10 implementation is "on track" and that all of the CMS updates and payment systems have been made as of October 1, 2013. She indicated that ICD-10 implementation is currently in the external testing phase. Last week, in a policy reversal, CMS announced that it will offer "end-to-end" ICD-10 testing for a small sample group of providers in late July. 

According to the announcement, providers that "represent a broad cross-section of provider types, claims types and submitter types" will submit test claims to CMS with ICD-10 codes and receive remittance advice explaining the adjudication of the claims. In addition, from March 3-7, CMS will offer ICD-10 acknowledgement testing. This front-end testing will allow all providers, billing companies, and clearinghouses the opportunity to determine whether CMS will be able to accept their claims with ICD-10 codes. 

During the panel session, entitled "ICD-10 Compliance Date: Are You Ready to Transition," CMS officials laid out key steps and resources to help with implementation.

CMS has established a "clearinghouse" where questions and issues about ICD-10 implementation can be submitted to obtain responses and to get direction for available resources. In addition, this month, CMS is rolling out an Administrative Simplification Transaction Testing checklist "developed by industry for industry" in order to develop best practices around testing. 

"We also have implementation calls with industry and we invite those industry leaders to participate in our calls," said Green. "It's a transparent process that we hope all people join in. We also convene focus groups with all types of groups--clearinghouses, vendors, payers, you name it. We really want to hear what's going on and how we could develop some solutions together."

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