ADP AdvancedMD readies cloud health apps for HIPAA 5010

Grazed from Government Health IT.  Author: Tom Sullivan.

ADP’s AdvancedMD unit has essentially brought its entire client base of small physician practices a significant step closer to HIPAA 5010 compliance via a software update announced on Tuesday...

With its 2011 Fall release, the vendor harvested one of the most well-known advantages of cloud computing –  the ability for a software provider to update an application on its end and, in so doing, make that new iteration available to all of its subscribers.

In the case of AdvancedMD, which payroll, benefits, and human resource firm ADP acquired in March, those cloud-based applications include EHR, practice management, medical scheduling, billing applications and services.

“Our entire client base has 5010-compliant software,” Advanced ADP president Raul Villar told Government Health IT. “Over the last 60 days, we went through various beta testing and now we’re general release.”

While the 2011 Fall release puts ADP AdvancedMD ahead of many other software vendors that have yet to release 5010 updates, the software itself is only piece in the puzzle. On their end, clients have a small number of tweaks, including incorporating the Master Patient Index (MPI), adding the full nine-digit zip code, as well as a billing address, since P.O. boxes are no longer acceptable under 5010.

And then there’s testing with external partners. It’s clear that the earlier vision of providers and payers achieving the Level 1 compliance recommendation by January 1, 2011, thereby leaving the entirety of this year for external testing, did not come to anything resembling fruition. Worse, with about six weeks until the January 1, 2012 final compliance deadline, industry surveys still reveal that very few providers have begun such testing.

Research that the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) shared during its annual conference at the end of October found that just 4.5 percent of practices rate their HIPAA 5010 status as fully complete, and only 35 percent indicated that internal testing has begun.

“Not everyone is ready for 5010, so a lot of the claims get pushed back to 4010 and processed through,” Villar said. “Our partnership with our clients is that we made our software 5010-compliant and they also have the ability if the payer can’t handle 5010, we’ll convert to 4010.”

Even Villar adds that the step-up step-down approach is a temporary fix, and that come January 1, 2012, payers are supposed to start rejecting claims filed in the wrong format.

As things stand today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) appears steadfast in its stance that the deadline is firm, and 4010 claims will be denied. "CMS is leading the industry," the National Research Council explained in a report this week, "and is on target with the implementation of 5010."