CMS committed to helping small practices adopt ICD-10

Following accusations that it was not doing enough to help small practices implement ICD-10, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) released the first web-seminar of the "Road to 10" series. These videos, paired with a host of supplementary materials, are aimed at physicians struggling to transition to the new medical coding system.

When CMS announced that the ICD-10 implementation date would be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015, the Workshop for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) voiced its belief that the postponement was disrupting the efficiency of the healthcare industry. The nonprofit group submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), urging the government agency to design an aggressive roadmap toward the implementation.

WEDI proposed several steps, including expanding industry testing and furthering provider education and support.

"It's critical that HHS work with the private industry to establish credibility in a new compliance date by focusing on critical issues such as readiness transparency, comprehensive testing, and augmented education," said Devin Jopp, president and chief executive officer of WEDI. "Absent these actions, we are concerned that implementation of the code sets will continue to be protracted, adding needless administrative burden and cost to the industry."

Tools for ICD-10 implementation 
CMS has since responded with a number of tools for small healthcare providers and a detailed plan for ICD-10 testing. EHRIntelligence reported that the first webinar in the "Road to 10" series was released on Aug. 15, 2014, and outlined the different tools available to help with the transition and the benefits of the new coding system. CMS is planning to have five more seminars that address ICD-10 compliance in small physician practices.

On the "Road to 10" website, CMS has published tools that will help with clinical documentation and coding concepts. There are also clinical scenarios and a training calendar. According to EHRIntelligence, these steps from CMS are much more significant than any support given for the previous 2014 deadline.

CMS also released a four-part testing plan that includes internal tests and beta-testing tools, as well as acknowledgement and end-to-end tests.

However, audience questions during the question and answer segment of the seminar focused on medical coding software and electronic health record vendors. This suggests that many small practices may be struggling with external factors in addition to the cost and training needed for the switch.

Kevin McCarthy's picture

Kevin McCarthy

Industry News Editor

An avid traveler and news junkie, Kevin covers a range of topics from healthcare technology to policy and regulations. As a former journalism student, he enjoys finding stories relevant to small practices and is passionate about keeping them informed. Before joining NueMD, Kevin worked for Turner Broadcasting as a Programming Intern where he conducted legal research and contributed to editorial content development. He received his bachelor's degree in Communication from Kennesaw State University and currently serves as the Industry News Editor at NueMD.

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