The American Hospital Association has sent a letter to CMS urging the department to ensure that ICD-10 testing begins by January 2014 and that it is available for all hospitals, FierceHealthIT reports (Gold, FierceHealthIT, 11/25).
U.S. health care organizations are working to transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets to accommodate codes for new diseases and procedures. The switch from ICD-9 to ICD-10 code sets means that health care providers and insurers will have to change out about 14,000 codes for about 69,000 codes.
In August 2012, HHS released a final rule that officially delayed the ICD-10 compliance date from Oct. 1, 2013, to Oct. 1, 2014, partially to look at the incremental changes needed in reforming health care (iHealthBeat, 11/14).
In the letter, Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development, writes, "It is essential that all testing be completed by the end of June  so that providers, payers and clearinghouses can resolve any issues discovered during testing and complete training well in advance of the Oct. 1, 2014, transition date" (AHA News, 11/22).
According to the letter, such testing would require hospitals to:
- Test connectivity and the transaction exchange for a claim containing ICD-10 codes; and
- Test the provider's and insurer's availability to correctly handle the ICD-10 content as part of the claims adjudication process (FierceHealthIT, 11/25).
AHA also urged CMS to "allow for and provide the same opportunity for small hospitals to test with your contractors as larger facilities" (AHA News, 11/22).