The CMS announces concessions in the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10

On July 7th, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it is making several critical changes to the transition period to ICD-10. They published a PDF that covers the concessions and how they will affect your practice: CMS Frequently Asked Question on ICD-10 Preparation

In an article that focused on concessions by CMS, the AMA notes the following changes to implementation:

  • Claim denials.For the first year ICD-10 is in place, Medicare claims will not be denied solely based on the specificity of the diagnosis codes as long as they are from the appropriate family of ICD-10 codes.

    This means that Medicare will not deny payment for these unintentional errors as practices become accustomed to ICD-10 coding. In addition, Medicare claims will not be audited based on the specificity of the diagnosis codes as long as they are from the appropriate family of codes. This transition period will give physicians and their practice teams time to get up to speed on the more complicated code set.

    Both Medicare Administrative Contractors and Recovery Audit Contractors will be required to follow this policy.

  • Quality-reporting penalties. Similar to claim denials, CMS will not subject physicians to penalties for the Physician Quality Reporting System, the value-based payment modifier or meaningful use based on the specificity of diagnosis codes as long as they use a code from the correct ICD-10 family of codes.

    In addition, penalties will not be applied if CMS experiences difficulties calculating quality scores for these programs as a result of ICD-10 implementation.

  • Payment disruptions. If Medicare contractors are unable to process claims as a result of problems with ICD-10, CMS will authorize advance payments to physicians.
  • Navigating transition problems. CMS has said it will establish a communication center to monitor issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. This will include an "ICD-10 ombudsman" devoted to triaging physician issues.

What you need to prepare

These concessions should serve to ease the pain of the transition. However, preparation is still a high priority. HCP has an ICD-10 training course that offers basic instruction on using the new codes. We would also suggest that you visit the CMS website for additional tips on ICD-10 preparation.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to comment below or send us an email at [email protected] or reach us by phone tollfree at 8554270427