The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued guidance on the role of claims clearinghouses in the transition to ICD-10 code sets:

“Practices preparing for the October 1, 2014, ICD-10 deadline are looking for resources and organizations that can help them make a smooth transition. It is important to know that while clearinghouses can help, they cannot provide the same level of support for the ICD-10 transition as they did for the Version 5010 upgrade. ICD-10 describes a medical diagnosis or hospital inpatient procedure and must be selected by the provider or a resource designated by the provider as their coder, and is based on clinical documentation.

“During the change from Version 4010 to Version 5010, clearinghouses provided support to many providers by converting claims from Version 4010 to Version 5010 format. For ICD-10, clearinghouses can help by:

* Identifying problems that lead to claims being rejected,

* Providing guidance about how to fix a rejected claim (e.g., the provider needs to include more or different data).

Clearinghouses cannot, however, help you identify which ICD-10 codes to use unless they offer coding services. Because ICD-10 codes are more specific, and one ICD-9 code may have several corresponding ICD-10 codes, selecting the appropriate ICD-10 code requires medical knowledge and familiarity with the specific clinical event.

“While some clearinghouses may offer third-party billing/coding services, many do not. And even third-party billers cannot translate ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes unless they also have the detailed clinical documentation required to select the correct ICD-10 code.

“As you prepare for the October 1, 2014, ICD-10 deadline, clearinghouses are a good resource for testing that your ICD-10 claims can be processed--and for identifying and helping to remedy any problems with your test ICD-10 claims.”

More information is available on the CMS ICD-10 Web site.

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