National 5010 Testing Day – What to Expect on August 24

By Dodge Communications on August 11th, 2011

Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Medicare FFS Program announced that they would hold two National Version 5010 Testing Days – one on June 15 and one on August 24. The program was billed as one that would give trading partners the opportunity to come together and test compliance with the help of a real-times support desk and direct and immediate access to MACs. Although it is being promoted as a time for technology vendors to officially test with Medicare and Medicaid, many of these organizations have been testing their ability to successfully transmit 5010 data for months to ensure they are prepared.

So what is the point of “National Version 5010 Testing Day?” Mostly it is to promote awareness of the pending transition and to reiterate the fact that medical practices must take a few steps to prepare for the transition or risk the integrity of their revenue cycle.

During the first National Testing Day, many technology vendors tweeted about the event or put out statements about preparing for the transition. In addition, there were a few webinars available through However, at the time, many practices thought the transition was too far away and did not need to prepare for the change just yet. This feeling was underscored by MGMA’s June survey, where 85% of respondents said they had not completed an impact analysis yet, which would show how much the 5010 conversion would influence their business operations. The study states this statistic alone implies medical practices are “still relying on the practice management vendor to supply them with information and upgrades/replacement software.”

Practices cannot depend exclusively on technology vendors to supply them with all the necessary information and software updates necessary for 5010.

Practices must also educate themselves on the changes that they will be responsible for – including providing a physical mailing address and not a P.O. Box, or supplying a nine-digital zip code. These are changes that only medical practices can do. So with the implementation date only a few months away and a lot of work still to do to prepare, what should be occurring on August 24, when the second National Version 5010 Testing Day occurs? At this point, practices should be in the middle of testing to ensure that they can successfully transmit 5010 data. And on August 24, they should reach out to CMS’ help desk to ask any questions they have to try to get into compliance and to confirm what changes they will be responsible for. Vendors, in turn, should be reaching out to their clients to produce timelines and information about how their 5010 implementation is going, along with what the vendor still needs to do to ensure they are prepared for January 1, 2012. Are these the actions that will occur on August 24? Hopefully, but we will see in a few weeks.