Friday, August 30, 2013

Technology and Your Billing Office

Big Changes
The ambulance billing office of today is a far cry from the paper-laden, file-cabinet intensive self that it used to be.

Modern technology, ranging from digital storage and archiving to cloud technology to electronic claim filing in a growingly paperless world, has advanced the ambulance billing industry to catch-up with other businesses.

In just the last decade, the technology of your EMS billing office should have taken great strides to solidify itself in this digital age. If not, then maybe you need to take a look at why this hasn’t happened.

Submitting Claims and HIPAA Standardization
The primary function of the billing office is to be the funnel for all things claim related. Your crews treat and transport patients. They follow by preparing a Patient Care Report (PCR), which is almost certainly prepared using computer technology either held on a desktop, laptop or residing on the cloud via use of the Internet.

Today, without even printing or physically generating a paper-based PCR, the billing company can locate the trip (in some programs without even searching using a scripted import/export feature), review it on-screen, apply proper coding in a billing software package and then file the claim to Medicare, Medicaid or to Commercial Insurance payers via encrypted claim submission applications either by direct link or via a third-party clearinghouse.

Patient names can be checked against databases as can insurance eligibility, coverage limits, co-pay amounts and deductibles depending on the participation status of the ambulance service supplier.

Real-time claims adjudication feedback can be maintained well before an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is even generated and without the time-delay of conventional mail delivery. When the claim is paid, the EOB can be imported as an electronic file with the potential to auto-populate the payment information direct to your claims software.

Even the codes to submit the claims both via diagnosis codes and HCPCS procedure codes have been standardized, thanks to HIPAA’s mandates across all insurance payers and electronic claim submission sets.

From Claim to Bank Seamlessly
More and more insurance companies are switching to electronic funds transfer (EFT) mandates much like Medicare forced a few years back.

Even insurance payments arriving by check can be scanned in the billing office using a check reader device which then allows the check’s image to be captured and funds transferred electronically to the ambulance company’s bank account.

Such advances in technology allow ambulance administrators the ability to review their billing program’s progress online, verify funds received against bank statements electronically helping EMS administrators to not only track the success of the program in real time but also monitor and minimize such risks as embezzlement and poor financial management tendencies.

As early as a decade ago, this totally paperless claim submission and electronic payment resolution loop would have been impossible.

Quicker Payment, More Efficiency
Cutting down the loop from the point of patient care and transport to claim to payment, potentially means more dollars for the entire EMS system and especially your EMS department.

Billing offices that take full advantage of technological advances are providing their administrators and clients with a full set of monitoring metrics that enable the EMS administrator to manage better and with more efficiency.

Benchmarking for performance is easier at all levels. Data is available virtually at any moment regarding all kinds of analyses from return percentages to net and gross charges, tabulating contractual allowances and monitoring less-producing sides of the individual ambulance business.

Gone is the endless search for supporting documentation for a claim in the sea of bankers boxes located in the mezzanine section over the ambulance bays. File cabinets are a distant memory and reports include graphics that point out the picture of the billing company without a single sheet of paper to file and potentially misplaced.

Do a Technology Assessment
Is your billing office (in-house or outsourced) making the most of technology? If not, do a technology assessment today. How does your EMS department stack up against others you know when it comes to technology?

Enhanced Clients can submit PCR’s and supporting documentation securely and easily using our new Enhanced PulsePoint™ online tool along with Enhanced PulsePoint™ Mobile. They can even run their own reports the way they need to run them and at their convenience round-the-clock using the Internet.

Behind the scenes, Enhanced employs dozens of digital methods to monitor and conduct highly successful billing programs across the United States. We employ all the latest tools from electronic claim submission to ACH funds transfer. Even our Client Services representatives are available via Live Internet Chat for those very busy EMS administrators we interact with on the daily basis.

Isn’t it time you tried Enhanced?

You can use technology to contact us right now. Visit our website at www.enhancedms.com and click on the “Getting Started” butto to contact Business Development Manager, Chuck Humphrey. Or you can e-mail Chuck at chumphrey@enhancedms.com.

Not a fan of technology?

Well, then there’s the “old fashioned” way of communication via toll-free phone number. Call 1-800-369-7544 today to bring a technology revolution to your ambulance service!
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