It’s official: October 1, 2015, is the new ICD-10 transition deadline. While that gives providers ample time to prepare for the switch, it’s imperative that those affected by the change stay on top of their prep work to ensure a timely and seamless transition when that day finally arrives.

To that end, CMS recently revealed its testing plan for the months leading up to the ICD-10 implementation date. According to this MLN Matters article, CMS is taking “a comprehensive four-pronged approach to preparedness and testing” in an effort to ensure everyone in the healthcare community has enough practice with submitting the new codes before it becomes a requirement. The four pieces of the testing plan are:

  • Internal testing of CMS’s claims processing systems
  • Release of downloadable beta testing tools
  • Acknowledgement testing
  • End-to-end testing

As you may recall, CMS successfully conducted acknowledgement testing this past March. To build on that round of testing, CMS has invited all providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses to submit acknowledgement test claims any time before October 1, 2015. Additionally, CMS has scheduled special acknowledgement testing weeks in November 2014 and March and June 2015. During these testing periods, participants will have access to real-time desk support. You do not need to sign up to participate in these testing activities. If you’re interested, simply contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) for more information.

CMS also plans to facilitate end-to-end testing in January, April, and July of 2015. Approximately 2,550 volunteers representing a variety of regions and provider types will be selected to participate in these testing events, which involve submission of test claims with ICD-10 codes to Medicare as well as the provider’s receipt of a Remittance Advice (RA) that explains the adjudication of the claims. According to the above-cited MLN Matters article, CMS will soon release information on the volunteer registration process.

For more information on these testing initiatives, as well as links to various testing resources and tools, please refer to the MLN Matters article.