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Three months until ICD-10 implementation: If you’re not preparing, you should be



June 26, 2015

With the implementation of ICD-10 only 90 days away, the window for physician practices to prepare for the transition is rapidly closing. Physicians must be prepared. While the California Medical Association (CMA) has been pressing Congress to further delay the October 2015 ICD-10 implementation, three House and Senate Congressional Committee Chairmen with health care jurisdiction have announced they will not support any further delay of ICD-10. Therefore, CMA and all of organized medicine have turned their attention to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to mitigate the problems associated with implementation.

CMA is urging CMS to establish a two-year transition period to avoid payment disruptions and claims processing errors. During this grace period, physicians would continue to code diagnoses using ICD-10, but it would allow physicians a learning period, whereby contractors could identify common errors, provide feedback and resolve problems without resorting to claim denials that could bankrupt physician practices and extend patient waiting times.

CMA is asking CMS to adopt the following protections:

  • Conduct more comprehensive testing prior to implementation to identify issues that could reject valid claims.
  • Establish a two-year grace period in which claims will not be denied for errors and physicians will not be penalized for mistakes or subject to recovery audit contractor audits.
  • Extend hardship exemptions to those practices unable to make the transition.
  • Provide advance payments in cases where a physician’s claims are denied and cash flow would be greatly reduced.

While CMA works with CMS to mitigate the disruptions associated with ICD-10 implementation, we urge physicians to prepare immediately.

If you haven’t begun preparing, CMS says there is still time; however, practices now need to move with a greater sense of urgency to ensure they will be ready for the transition on October 1, 2015.

To help physicians prepare for the transition, CMA has created an ICD-10 transition webpage, as well as an ICD-10 transition guide.

Additionally, in partnership with your local county medical society and the California Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), CMA is offering statewide, two-day ICD-10 code set seminars this summer.

The two-day boot camps include 16 hours of intensive general ICD-10 code set training, along with hands-on coding exercises. Each attendee receives the ICD-10-CM Code Set Draft Book and the AAPC Code Set Course Manual. The onsite training course is approved for 16 continuing education units (CEU) through AAPC. Following the onsite training, attendees will be given an ICD-10 proficiency assessment to ensure understanding of ICD-10 concepts and guidelines, and will have access to AAPC’s online ICD-10-CM Assessment Training Course through December 31, 2015.

The AAPC ICD-10 course is being offered at a tremendous savings. CMA has negotiated a reduced price of $399 for CMA members and $499 for California MGMA members. The program is also available to non-members for $599. AAPC typically charges $799 for this course.

The remaining seminars are scheduled for the following dates in these counties.


  • Santa Clara, June 30
  • San Bernardino, July 7–8, 2015
  • Los Angeles, July 8–9, 2015
  • Sonoma/Marin/Mendocino/Lake, July 13–14, 2015
  • Los Angeles (Torrance), July 14–15, 2015
  • Sierra Sacramento, July 15–16, 2015
  • Yuba/Sutter/Colusa/Placer/Nevada, August 4–5, 2015
  • San Joaquin, August 10–11, 2015
  • Stanislaus/Merced, August 12–13, 2015
  • Orange County, August 19–20, 2015
  • North Valley, August 24–24, 2015
  • Humboldt/Del Norte, August 26–27, 2015
  • San Diego, August 27–28, 2015

To register, please visit CMA Events and select the course nearest you or call (800) 786-4262. Space is limited and is on a first come, first served basis.

For additional information, contact Juli Reavis at (916) 551-2046 or jreavis@cmadocs.org.

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