November wasn’t a great month for turkeys, but it was a great month for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). More than 500 participants—including small and large physician practices, small and large hospitals, labs, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis facilities, home health providers, ambulance providers, and several other physician specialties—submitted almost 13,700 test claims during a successful week (November 17–21) of acknowledgement testing.

CMS held this testing week to ensure the organization is able to accurately receive, process, and reimburse claims containing ICD-10 codes. The trial run also allowed participants to practice documentation and billing practices to ensure their workflows suit the new diagnosis codes.

CMS made certain that each test claim submitted during the week included all of the information required for processing, including:

  • Valid diagnosis code
  • Matching dates of service
  • Valid National Provider Identifier (NPI)
  • ICD-10 companion qualifier code

CMS rejected some claims due to both intentional errors—that is, those part of the “negative testing” process, which ensures erroneous claims aren’t accepted—as well as unintentional errors, including:

  • Invalid NPI
  • Future dates of service (CMS requires that all test claims use current dates of service)
  • Missing ICD-10 companion qualifier codes

Overall, testing went well. The system experienced no issues, and CMS accepted 76% of the submitted test claims, with the daily acceptance rate improving steadily over the course of the week to a high of 87% on Friday.

If you missed this particular testing week, don’t worry. CMS is offering two more testing weeks this year: March 2–6, 2015, and June 1–5, 2015. That being said, providers, suppliers, billing companies, and clearinghouses aren’t limited to testing claims just during these weeks; they can submit test claims anytime before ICD-10 officially goes into effect on October 1, 2015.

For more information on the testing process or to learn how to participate, contact your Medicare Administrative Contractor.