Is the transition to HIPAA 5010 too demanding on hospitals?

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is acting tough on hospitals by requiring them to do many Herculean tasks at one go, some of them being converting to an EHR, transition to HIPAA 5010, coordinate vendor and health plan testing, train staff members on new technology and so on.

Among them the transition to HIPAA 5010 is perhaps the most demanding one because its compliance deadline is just about two years away that is Jan 1 2012. Even as it is a year ahead of the October 1, 2013 deadline for the ICD-10 cutover, the two terminal dates overlap enough so that both upgrades will have to be underway at the same time.

During its first national provider education call about HIPAA Version 5010, CMS provided an overview of the updated national code standard for billing software and answered several questions from providers, vendors, and other health information management and health information technology professionals.

It was said during the call that Medicare Administrative Contractors must be ready to use 5010 by January 1, 2011, thus giving providers one full year to coordinate testing efforts. The Medicare fee-for-service implementation of 5010 will include the following:

* Improved claims receipt, control, and balancing procedures
* Increased consistency of claims editing and error handling
* Improved efficiency for returning claims needing correction earlier in the process
* Improved assignment of claim numbers closer to the time of receipt.