Enforcement of HIPAA 5010 transactions on March 15, 2012, was delayed for the second time for another 3 months by the government, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) pushing the date further to June 30, 2012, in order to not compromise physician cash flow. Physicians have previously communicated to AMA significant cash flow problems they encountered associated with the transition to HIPAA Version 5010. Essentially the rule called for compliance by January 1, 2012, however earlier on November 17, 2011 OESS announced its first enforcement delay of three months, referring to the move as “enforcement discretion”.

OESS states that there are still various outstanding issues and challenges hampering full implementation, hence the delay. To make sure that all entities complete the transition OESS considers that these remaining issues necessitate an extension of enforcement discretion, anticipating transition statistics to reach 98% industry wide by the end of the enforcement discretion period.

Progress on HIPAA 5010 enforcement by varied healthcare entities

According to OESS Health plans, clearinghouses, providers and software vendors have been making steady progress towards enforcement:

  • The Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) program is currently reporting successful receipt and processing of over 70 percent of all Part A claims and over 90 percent of all Part B claims in the Version 5010 format
  • Commercial plans are reporting similar numbers
  • State Medicaid agencies are showing progress as well, and some have made a full transition to Version 5010

What can Doctors do now to prepare for HIPAA 5010?

Reaching almost midway to the second enforcement delay date, along with the need to convert to ICD-10 soon after complying with 5010, it becomes imperative for doctors who haven’t as yet to begin their transition work as early as possible.

The major apprehension for practices is to complete implementation and full functionality at or before the deadline to avoid transaction rejections and subsequent payment delays. Practices will need to develop an implementation plan:

  • Updating software to work under the new standards and contact software vendors, claims clearinghouses or billing service and health insurance payers to verify that they are operating as per 5010 standards
  • Identify changes to data reporting requirements, changes to existing practice work flow, business processes and staff training needs
  • Test with your trading partners- like payers/clearinghouses and budget for implementation costs – including expenses for system changes, resource materials, consultants and training

In this crucial time of healthcare reforms and increased stress on value for service, physicians short of time find it practical to partner with experts who can handle their entire revenue cycle, in order to concentrate more on streamlining their process and enhance patient care.

Medicalbillersandcoders.com expert consultancy providing medical billing and coding services is also offering software advice and support to US healthcare providers with their RCM and has been assisting physicians with HIPAA 5010 implementation. MBC offers professional support and assistance to healthcare providers to keep abreast to the changing industry norms, so that they can concentrate on their core service of patient care.

Published By - Medical Billers and Coders
Published Date - May-11-2012 Back

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